This is an entry in Grandad David’s book written in November 1905 on the subject of friends.
Be cautious in your choice of friends. It is of no small importance in life to be cautious what company we keep, and with whom we enter into friendships; for though we are ever so well disposed ourselves, and happen to be ever so free from vice, yet if those with whom we frequently converse are engaged in a wicked course, it will be almost impossible for us to escape being drawn in with them.In all our transactions with mankind even in the most private and humble life, we should have a special regard how and with whom we trust ourselves. If bad company had nothing else to make us avoid it, this might be sufficient, that it infects and taints a man’s reputation to as great a degree as if he were thoroughly versed in the wickedness of the whole gang.
The bible teaches us:
Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ 1 Corinthians 15:33
So a couple of weeks ago I posted Refreshing Company about 3 believers named Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, who the Apostle Paul commended for being people who had by their visit refreshed him and the other believers in Corinth.
Paul encouraged recognising such people, so today I want to give a quick shout out and thank you to some “Refreshers” that I know.
First off my fellowship friends who have journeyed with me for 22 years now. We have met regularly on Wednesday evenings and when Covid kept us apart we discovered Zoom and WhatsApp video. So to Mary, Geoff, Karen, Deb, Terry, and Heather thanks for refreshing me through your prayers, reading the bible together and your giftings in the Holy Spirit. You’re awesome and I thank God for each one of you x
Next my work buddy Rachel who just by her bubbly and caring nature is such a blessing to me at work. She picks me up when I’m feeling low but is also great at challenging me when I’m wallowing in a bit of self pity because work is hard and I just need to get over myself. I remember asking God to send me some Christian friends at work and he answered my prayer by blessing me with Rachel. She is a joy.
Lastly, but not least in any way are the lovely bloggers that I follow on here. There are so many of you that regularly pour out refreshment for us readers through your writings. There is such a variety of great writing on here and I always find something that makes me smile and encourages me. You know who you are and you’re great. Bless you all.
If you have never read Psalm 55 then I recommend a read. It is an amazing Psalm. David just pours out the hurt, pain & anger he feels over being betrayed. You can really feel the pain behind the words. It is raw and real. He puts his broken heart out there and the emotion is tangible.
Why this Psalm is enlightening is that it’s not just any betrayal though.. it was the betrayal of a very close friend and equal. Someone David trusted completely who went to the temple with him. They worshipped together. Spiritual companions. They were of the same heart & mind as David or so he thought. David found out the truth though. His friend was not really his friend. He was out to destroy him. It cut him deeply to be betrayed by someone he trusted completely. As David said, if it was an enemy he could have coped with it. You know your enemies are against you but you expect your friends to have your back.
Imagine as a Christian being betrayed by your closest confidant at church. You have been going to church together for years, perhaps you came to faith together, walked the journey together, you think you know them, trust them, you have shared your heart with them and then you find out it was all a pretence. They weren’t your friend at all, they didn’t have your best interests at heart, they were actually working against you all the time. The shock, the pain, hurt, anger…you would feel it just as David felt it.
I believe Holy Spirit is warning us that we are going to see more of such betrayal being revealed in the body of Christ. We need to prepare our hearts. You may have already experienced it. Jesus warned believers about it in the last days that brothers & sisters etc. will betray each other, How will we deal with it if it happens to us and not compromise our faith. For our own sakes we can’t allow such betrayals to crush us and destroy trust of others and impact future Godly relationships. We can’t give into revenge or thoughts of revenge. David certainly wanted God to take vengeance. You read it in this Psalm. He gives voice to those thoughts.
The pain and hurt of such betrayal needs to be acknowledged and poured out to God. It will fester otherwise. It is important to guard our hearts so that bitterness and resentment do not take root and cause us and others even more trouble. Choosing to forgive others as Jesus forgives us is the test. God can help us to forgive through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to do this. Without the Holy Spirit, I think it is impossible as our flesh will want to lash out and cause hurt as we have been hurt. We can trust God though to bring healing to the wounds and for justice and truth to be outworked. He is our shield and protector.
We can’t allow these painful experiences to drive us away from fellowship with other Christians. David wanted to just run away – verse 6 “oh that I had wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.” and these things will want to make us run away too…run from everything even those people that truly love us and want the best for us. Betrayal can be a doorway for shame especially if someone has betrayed things about us to others that will cause people to judge us or treat us differently. Running away is not the answer. We won’t find any rest by drawing away and isolating ourselves. There will be a true godly friend who can draw alongside you at these difficult times. Help is there. Don’t reject those who want to help and love you at these times out of fear of the same thing happening. Learning to trust again.
There is something else I believe in this Psalm though that the Holy Spirit also reveals. In the midst of David’s brokenness & outpouring I read in verses 20-21 a prophetic word inspired by the Holy Spirit about the anti-christ and how he will operate and it’s a similar story.
“He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He has broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords”.
Anti-Christ will pretend to be a close friend & ally of Israel who will deceive Israel into making a peace treaty which will prove to be a deception. He will break that treaty mid way through and betray them. This is prophesied in other parts of scripture about a seven year peace treaty. Israel will feel utterly betrayed. Anti Christ is a flatterer and a deceiver. War and not peace is his true intention. The betrayal of David by a close friend shows us I think how anti christ will operate. Is Anti Christ a fellow worshipper or spiritual person? I don’t know but it provokes me to think about the possibility.
Why have I also flagged these verses. To show that God can still use us in such situations despite our brokenness and work through us for His glory. He can use you still. Don’t give up and allow the pain of betrayal to consume you. Instead rise up, believe in the gifts He has deposited within you and the ministry He has called you to. You are a gift to the body of Christ. Don’t let the enemy rob you of it and destroy your future.
There is an answer and hope in v 22 “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. He shall never permit the righteous to be moved”. This promise to sustain you also means to nourish, bear, hold up, protect, support and defend you. God will do all this for you – give him the burden of betrayal and trust in His unfailing love.