WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 22, 2022
TOPIC: DON’T BE A FAIR-WEATHER FRIEND
BY T. O. BANSO
“There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 New Living Translation).
It is often said that success has many parents but failure is an orphan! Truly the Bible says, “The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends” (Proverbs 14:20 New King James Version). Proverbs 19:7 conveys a similar thought: “All the brothers of the poor hate him; How much more do his friends go far from him! He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him” (New King James Version).
Don’t be a fair-weather friend. There was the story of a politician who was charged to court and was granted bail. Although the conditions were a bit stringent, he was sure that with the quality of friends he had, he would meet the bail conditions with ease. Unfortunately, he stayed longer in prison than he had expected because he couldn’t meet the bail conditions.
Finally, someone who was not one of his close friends heard of his predicament and went to see him in prison and told him that he would provide everything the court required to ensure that he left the prison. Then, he wept because he never expected that, considering the group of friends he had, it would be this person that would agree to stand surety for him. All his close friends did not come to his aid. They left him to his fate.
This is not an isolated case. There are similar stories of people who were deserted by supposed close friends when they were in trouble. Until people are in trouble, they may not be able to differentiate between true friends and fair-weather friends. I read about one such person recently. He spoke about how the closest person to him never visited him in prison throughout the years he spent there. He learnt a great lesson.
Many people are surrounded by fair-weather friends whom they think are true friends. But when they are facing serious challenges, they will withdraw from them. Some won’t even phone them, not to talk of visiting them. Some people have complained of friends not picking up their calls since their troubles began. Such an experience makes their situations more painful.
Job said, “My relatives have failed, and my close friends have forgotten me. Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants, count me as a stranger; I am an alien in their sight. I call my servant, but he gives no answer; I beg him with my mouth. My breath is offensive to my wife, and I am repulsive to the children of my own body. Even young children despise me; I arise, and they speak against me. All my close friends abhor me, and those whom I love have turned against me” (Job 19:14-19 New King James Version).
Not only was Job deserted by relatives, friends, and servants, but his three friends who came to him were also miserable comforters. Rather than edify him, they came to vilify him. Job told them, “How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have reproached me; you are not ashamed that you have wronged me” (Job 19:2-3 New King James Version)
Job’s friends were destroying him with words, as Brenton’s Septuagint Translation puts Job 19:2. Words are very powerful. Words can build and words can destroy. Be careful what you say to people, especially in their troubles. Proverbs 18:24 says, “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (New Living Translation).
When Jesus was arrested, Mark 14:50 says all his disciples deserted him and ran away. Matthew 26:56 says the same thing. Paul also experienced desertion. In 2 Timothy 1:15, Paul said, “This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (New King James Version).
Bible scholars have given different interpretations to this, including that Paul could be talking about Christians in Asia abandoning him or Asian Christians in Rome deserting him. It’s also been argued that “all those in Asia” should not be understood as everyone but many in Asia. However, the Bible does not provide more information about Phygellus and Hermogenes mentioned among those who turned away from Paul. But we know that in Acts 19:10, the Bible says of how Paul’s ministry earlier, while he was in Ephesus, affected the province of Asia. “And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (New King James Version). Don’t be a fair-weather friend.
Also, in 2 Timothy 4:10a, Paul said Demas had forsaken him, “having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica” (New King James Version). Demas was a fellow-labourer with Paul until he deserted him. Furthermore, in 2 Timothy 4:16, Paul said at his first defence, no one stood with him, but all forsook him; he prayed that it would not be counted against them. Paul must have had friends in Rome at the time of his trial, which he referred to, but none of them wanted to associate with him. Most probably, they were afraid of the Roman Emperor Nero.
But it wasn’t all bad news from Paul in Rome. After saying in 2 Timothy 1:15 that all those in Asia had turned away from him, among whom were Phygellus and Hermogenes, Paul immediately talked about how Onesiphorus, an Ephesian Christian, ministered to him in Rome. Ephesus was in the province of Asia. Paul said, “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18 New International Version). Onesiphorus’ great kindness is what you expect from a true friend.
It’s not everyone who claims to be your friend that is a true friend. Some flatter you but don’t truly love you. Some sycophants pretend to be true friends just because of what they are benefitting from their relationships with you. “Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him” (Proverbs 19:4 New International Version). However, as Proverbs 18:24b says, “a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (New Living Translation). Come rain or shine, they are loyal to you. “A true friend is always loyal” (Proverbs 17:17a The Living Bible).
That’s why I like the four men who brought the paralytic to Jesus for healing in Mark 2:1-12. They were so faithful to him that, against all odds, they got this man to Jesus to heal him. They didn’t allow the barrier posed by the crowd to hinder them from helping him to receive healing.
They uncovered the roof where Jesus was and lowered the man down on his bed. It appears that they didn’t bother if they had to pay for the repair of the roof later! To them, the man was more important than the roof or money. And they achieved their goal of getting the man healed. The pain they took to get the man healed showed that they, probably, had a close relationship with him, and they didn’t desert him because of his health condition. Jesus healed the man.
Don’t abandon your friends because of life challenges. Be loyal. If you have been with your friends in the good times, don’t desert them in the bad times. Proverbs 27:10a says not to forsake your friend. Don’t be a fair-weather friend.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not be a fair-weather friend in Jesus’ name. I shall be loyal to my friends and not desert them because of hardship or because they are in distress. Holy Spirit, help me to support my friends and be helpful to them when they’re facing life challenges. I pray that everyone who has been deserted by friends will overcome their present troubles in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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