Once Upon a Friend :: By Candy Austin

Proverbs 16:28 “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.”

Friends come and go.

We all know that friends and acquaintances come and go. Some people have friendships that last a lifetime; those instances are special and rare. In the Bible we read about close friendships such as the one between David and Jonathan. Their bond was fonder than one even between close brothers. Jonathan was more loyal to David than in his own ambition and even to his own father King Saul.

Another example we read about is in the friendship and bond between Ruth and Naomi. Even when Ruth’s husband died, she begged Naomi not to send her back to her homeland. The loyalty Ruth had for Naomi was evidenced in her saying, “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge: Your people will be my people, and your God my God: Where you die, I will die, and there be buried.” Before my youngest fell in love with an Atheist, she would recite this quote to me. Turns out her Loyalty was not that real after all.

No one is Loyal anymore.

The story I am about to share is about my husband and his best friend at one point in time. Once upon a time, there were two Postal Workers who worked together for the better part of 15 years; and over time they became close friends. For this piece, we will call my husband’s friend ‘Fiddeen’ (a slang term for ‘fifteen points’), because that is what they would ‘tauntingly announce’ when they would slam down their respective Dominoes during the games they would play on their lunch breaks. To try and cool off from the Texas heat, they would also play a round of Pool most days too. ‘Fiddeen’ usually had to foot the bill for most rounds of Pool, because my husband was usually the cheapskate.

My husband and ‘Fiddeen’ were probably the ‘coolest looking’ Mailmen one would ever see. Even in their blue Postal Uniforms, they were always donned with doo rags on their bald heads and sporty- looking sunglasses on their faces, not to mention with their goatees and short sleeves rolled up even further to reveal their arm tattoos. Seeing how they worked in run-down city neighborhoods, the only thing that would ‘mess with them’ was the proverbial residential dog who classically chased Mailmen!

‘Fiddeen’ and his family spent time at our house with our family on several occasions and vice versa. His kids were younger than ours, but our kids still played and interacted with each other whenever we all got together. ‘Fiddeen’ liked to joke with my husband about someday taking our oldest daughter to her HS Prom, to which my husband would always retort, “I don’t think so, man!” In which laughter would erupt all around. ‘Fiddeen’ and my husband had their own ‘raw sense of humor’ to say the least. Little did we know that, in time, his fondness for our oldest would be the thread that helped to unravel their friendship.

One of the definitions of Satan is Slanderer.

Just like the verse stated above, a whisperer, a backbiter, and a slanderer separate the choicest of friends. Through her lies, libel, and slander on social media, our oldest became successful in dragging our names through the mud, even to the point of ‘going viral’ and taking most of our family and friends down with her. To this day, it is ‘incredulous’ to us to see how easy it was for most of them to turn their backs on us. Sad to say, but it seems like they wanted to believe the worst. Deep down, we know that they were not really family and friends to begin with, since it was so easy for them to write us off and not care enough to hear our side of the story.

From Gotquestions.org:What does the Bible say about friends?”

Human beings were created to be social creatures, meaning that we are most comfortable when we have family, friends and acquaintances. Friendship is an important element in a fulfilled, contented life, and those who have close friends, whether one or two or a multitude, will usually be happy and well-adjusted.

At the same time, those who call themselves our friends may cause us grief and hardship, constantly disappointing us. So what exactly is a friend, and what does the Bible have to say about friends?

Friends can also prove false, pretending affection for their own motives and deserting us when our friendship no longer benefits them (Psalm 55:12-14Proverbs 19:46-7). Friendship can be broken down through gossip (Proverbs 16:28) or grudges (Proverbs 17:9). Friends should be chosen carefully because, as Paul told the Corinthians, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Proverbs 1:10-19 and 4:14-19 contain warnings about friends and how we should choose them. We are not to associate with those who entice us to do wrong, no matter how appealing their “friendship” seems to be. Those whose “feet rush to sin” should be avoided.

The path they choose is no place for a Christian whose choice should be to follow the “path of the righteous.” Only that path leads to friendship with God, which is the ultimate goal of a Christian. Source

Upon Reflection

A few years after the friendship between my husband and ‘Fiddeen’ ended, my husband was able to look back and reflect on certain things; and it turns out that ‘Fiddeen’ was not the best of influence on my husband in many ways. My husband also realized that by confiding in someone he thought was a real friend, it only turned out to backfire on him instead. Therefore, my husband has decided not to ‘get too close’ to any work friends ever again. Instead of feeling “Once bitten, twice shy,” we feel “A thousand times bitten, a million times shy.”

I write this because I feel my husband’s pain even though he hardly acknowledges it. If I have to ‘feel for the both of us,’ then that is what I will do, in hopes of helping him navigate his true feelings too. Since being forsaken by nearly everyone, I tend not to let people ‘get too close.’ I acknowledge that there are walls that I may put up; but, frankly, I cannot help it at this point. We so much want those who have turned their backs on us to care, so much so, that it hurts in more ways than we even realize.

The Plight of the Last Days

In these Last Days, the ‘Loyalty’ between Friends that we read about in God’s Word will become more and more ‘Non-Existent’ due to the increased Lawlessness and the Love of many, if not most, Waxing Cold. The only comfort I receive most days is in knowing that Jesus said that He would never leave us nor forsake us!

If you truly know Him, then He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother! In our bond with Jesus, we will never have to say, “Once Upon A Friend,” for He will be our friend for all of Eternity! For this truth and comfort, we are Beyond Grateful!

John 15:15 “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his LORD doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”

Until next time… Maranatha!

(JESUS = THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE)