October 14, 2009
Facing Our Frenemy
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."
Proverbs 27:6 (ESV)
I am a sap for words and reading. I adore books—their look, the feel of their pages and even their smell. Not content to sit still in a waiting room, I'll pick up anything within reach and read it. Why, I still even read cereal boxes at breakfast!
I especially love to learn new words, thereby increasing my vocabulary. And I am intrigued by the new words that are added to our language as the years go by. Ask any of my forty-something friends. In high school we'd never heard the words Internet, blog or download.
Every so often, dictionaries must be updated with new words or with new meanings to old words. In fact, Merriam-Webster has added more than 100 entries to the latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary. One of the new words listed in this latest round literally leapt off the page at me. It is the word "Frenemy " Yes, frenemy. It is defined as: One who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy.
Sadly, I have had my share of frenemies in my life. Even more discouraging is that sometimes, I have been one.
In middle school there were the girls who I thought liked me and wanted to include me in the popular group. However, they were just pumping me for info on a few of the latest boy-girl crushes. Once they'd garnered their data, they dumped me.
Then there were the athletic boys in high school who seemed to really like me, and wanted to hang around me. As sports editor of the newspaper, I should have known they were just hoping to get a mention in the latest issue of the school publication.
And there were the people I sometimes befriended, but not because I liked them. I didn't. It was because they could get me somewhere or something that I wanted.
Fast forward to today. This era of social networking sites has only given rise to the number of frenemies who come out of the woodwork. I've heard school-aged girls talk about "accepting" someone as a friend on Facebook, not because they like her and really want to be her friend, but to "spy' on her and keep up on what is happening in her life. You know, who she likes, where she goes, who she hangs with.
Even grown women befriend someone on these sites just to nose around, when in all actuality they can't stand the person they are "friends" with. So the backbiting and tongue-wagging continues, all while our posted profile faces smile at each other. False, fake … frenemies.
The worst frenemy, however, is the greatest deceiver of all. He, in his worldly way, promises happiness, but delivers sorrow. He tricks and traps and leaves us regretful of our choices. His ways sparkle and glitter and entice. But in the end, they are dark. Like a lion in sheep's clothing, He comes to steal, kill and destroy. Beware! "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" I Peter 5:8 (ESV). Flirting with the devil in a friendly way NEVER has a happy ending!
Let's take our new vocabulary word today, and vow to be on our toes about frenemies. Let's avoid them and certainly not be a frenemy ourselves. And let's watch out for the biggest one of all—Satan. Our friendships should be pure and honest and true. We should seek to be authentic and real and to bring out the best in our friends. As for our enemies, Jesus told us exactly what to do about them, ""But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you" Luke 6:27-28 (ESV).
May God give us that kind of others-centered love, as only He can give.
Dear Lord, keep me watchful for those who do not have my family's best interest or mine at heart. Send me true friends, Make me an authentic friend. Keep me from the snares of the greatest frenemy of all. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit our Everyday Life encouragement page
For more on the friendships of women, visit Karen's blog -Helping Women Simplify Life and Glorify God
Do I recall a time in my life when I had a frenemy? Once the truth was revealed, how did I feel?
How does society blatantly or subtly encourage women to be frenemies?
How can I guard myself from being, or having, a false friendship?
When in the past has Satan appeared to be my friend, but in reality had nothing but evil planned for me?
Psalm 109:3-4, "With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer." (ESV)
Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times." (ESV)
© 2009 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105