The Separation of Friends

“A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer 
separates intimate friends.”  Proverbs 16:28

“It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.”  Confucius

My mind’s intrigued with fickle people concerned only with the direction of the winds of gossip. They blow this way and that, regardless of the benefit given by myself. I’m wary of this crowd, of the hearty followers, of the “humble” acquaintances in my life, for those by my side in friendship today are at my throat, without hesitation, tomorrow. All that’s required for this shift from friend to foe is discomfort in their lives. Whether financial, physical, or social unrest, it gives them impetus to turn the trust into a sword and cut without mercy. “He deserves it because….” – this is the mantra that sears their conscience.

They’re masters in this game, the game of turning the opinions of those around me to their benefit. It’s no disgrace this art of war, but it bears repeating that those closest to me, those I help the most, will grow to hate me, if for no other reason than I have and they have not. Despising that they asked for my help, or owe me something, or just hate that I excel in some way, they desire to quench their envy and jealousy by disposing the one to whom they are so envious or indebted. These master players will be burned by their own hand and it won’t be long after starting many fires that they’ll make a mistake and corner themselves with the flames. As for me, I learn to encourage myself, and with this one thing I’ll rise above the petty crowd – after all the hate shown towards me, I’ll still be good to people and serve my friends and leaders with undying loyalty.

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The Myth of Betrayal –

“Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.” ― Margaret Mead
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For the longest time I’ve written and mused about the betrayal of friends and lovers until TD Jakes said something that altered my view from here on out, “They never betrayed you because they were never your friends”. My mistake is that I put people who were never my friends in a place of trust and honor and shared with them secrets and insights from my deepest thoughts, which things were turned against me in due time and used to degrade, insult, and hurt me. But the mistake wasn’t theirs, it was mine for misunderstanding that there are different kinds of people that need to be categorized into different kinds of relationships. I’ll use the animal kingdom for an example. A wolf may kill a buzzard without a thought, therefore the buzzard treats the wolf with caution and flees, they don’t “hang out” together. This doesn’t make the wolf irrelevant because the wolf will create opportunities and lead the buzzard to food. As long as the buzzard realizes the limits of the relationship and stays within those confines, it’ll be safe, but if it mistakes this provision of food for proof of safety from the wolf, he will die one day and that quite suddenly. The lesson is this: Firstly, I must filter people into the correct category. Secondly, I must keep them there and never change the arrangement because of my feelings.
Why did I make this mistake to begin with? Because loneliness, low self-esteem, and a myriad of other psychological crap that’s followed me from my childhood makes me hungry for approval and friendship, and when I’m hungry, I’ll eat anything. People I know are bad for me have crept in by familiarity and the whip of loneliness has driven me to them for company and comfort. Another reason for my mistake is my spirituality. Being of tender heart and convinced I must do good for others, I’ve put myself in close proximity to dangerous and unpredictable people and mistook my desire to show them the love of God as accepting them and showing them I trust them, allowing them to access to my soul’s secrets and confidence. Everyone’s seen a video where a guy jumps a fence or reaches through it to pet a wild animal. The results are usually catastrophic and the thought comes to mind immediately, “What the hell were they thinking?”. There are no fences in life unless we put them there and no signs warning us unless we write them. I’m upset at myself for having gone this long without understanding this principal, however it’s never to late to learn, so here’s a mighty shove to push everyone away from me while I reevaluate the relationship we share.
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First published in Opinions Of Eye

Trusting A Friend –

“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”
Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

 

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Sunshine friends, there when the sun shines but when the weather changes for the worst, they leave. Good friends are there no matter what, they stick around, they support you, they give advice that may or may not be what you want to hear. Never giving up, the strength of their arms is there for whatever you need. I know one who meets these criteria whom I’ll call Big Daddy and who others call by many names, especially – “God”. I won’t give my trust to someone until I’ve seen them in action when the crap hits the fan. If I want to trust Big Daddy, by my own definition, I should wait to see him in action. In other words, how can I know God’s a provider unless I’m in a place of lack. How can I know God’s a protector unless I need to be defended. How can I know God’s a healer unless I need healing. These things I’ve described: lack, vulnerability, and sickness were initially viewed as such severe acts that I shouldn’t have to go through them, but if that were so, how can I ever trust, especially one who I cannot see?

Trouble in our lives is necessary if we’re to know the personality of God. Here’s where I’ve seen Big Daddy work in my life. When I was molested, he saved me from death. The rapist and the molester could have killed me. As for the mental scars, which are severe, God helps me to recover with patience and love during my midnight breakdowns. When I was attacked and feared for my life from both spiritual and physical situations, God intervened time and again and let me recover from physical and psychological pain. When I was heartbroken by lost love and betrayal of friends, God stepped in to provide direction and comfort. When I was destitute, by my own hand and by the hand of circumstances, Big Daddy provided food, clothing, and housing. How did all this occur? Some instances of His help are beyond explanation, and some came by the hands of others around me.
Why did he use other people instead of just stepping in and making this or that appear out of thin air? Because in the turmoil of life my heart will harden to loathe people and hate their company. This is contrary to the family life that God wants for us. He used other people to overcome the tendency to harden myself, isolate myself, and hurt people who had nothing to do with the original problem. It’s human nature to want vengeance and exact it however we see fit. It’s God’s nature to promote family and unity both with each other and with ourselves. The end of the thing is this, in my life I’ve experienced great pain and terror and this is my testimony: Big Daddy was always there, in the deepest, darkest, lowest depths to reach out and give me love, hope, and help. Let this be your experience as well, call on Him and He will help you. The help doesn’t always appear like you may think, but it works out for your best.
First Published in Opinions of Eye

Old Tubal Cain – We will not forget the sword

“and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” 

The following is a post from lucifelle. It is an excellent poem both in form and message. My favorite line, “we’ll not forget the sword”. Always fight for what you believe in. Peace. 

Old Tubal Cain was a man of might
In the days when the earth was young;
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright
The strokes of his anvil rung ;
And he lifted high his brawny hand
On the iron growing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,
As he fashioned the sword and spear.
And he sang, ” Hurrah for my handiwork !
Hurrah for the spear and the sword !

Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,
For he shall be king and lord ! “
But a sudden change came o’er his heart
Ere the setting of the sun ;
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain
For the evil he had done.
He saw that men, with rage and hate,
Made war upon their kind ;
That the land was red with the blood they shed
In their lust for carnage blind.
And he said, “Alas ! that I ever made,
Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose joy
Is to slay their fellow-man! “
And men, taught wisdom from the past,
In friendship joined their hands,
Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,
And ploughed the willing lands ;
And sang, “Hurrah for Tubal Cain !
Our stanch good friend is he ;
And for the ploughshare and the plough,
To him our praise shall be.
But while oppression lifts its head,
Or a tyrant would be lord,
Though we may thank him for the plough,
We’ll not forget the sword.”