S171P6 – The proverbial good friend: wary of division

Pro. 16:28
A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.

People become friends because they have something in common. When I was a child, my friends were the kids who liked to play the games I liked to play. In middle school and high school, my friends and I shared the same taste in music and what we liked to do for fun. Some people become fast friends over the love of a hobby or a sport, while others become friends because they spend so much time sharing their lives over work. Whether we are brought together by the same interests, profession, mutual friends or family, friendship requires some common connection. For the Christian friends, the root of their friendship is their faith. In that context, this verse is pretty insightful.

As followers of Christ and believers in the word of God, we know that division is something we must watch for. Division has a purpose, which is to take the fruitful and make it fruitless. We might think of a church with many members doing many good works fighting against division aimed at making them ineffective. Another example is the marriage of two godly people who are spiritually impactful. However, ministry and marriage are not the only places division can show up to make us ineffective. Our great enemy and those who do his work will target Christian friendships producing good works for the kingdom, so we must be vigilant to protect those relationships.

When you fall out of favor with a Christian brother or sister, consider what really was the issue or conflict. It might look like someone ended a friendship over offense or hurt feelings, but there could be something else at play. When our Christian friendships start to go south or deteriorate altogether, we must pray for discernment to know what occurred. I would expect that it is not merely a matter of people not getting along or disagreeing. Whether a perverse heart or an evil whisper, we must consider that there is something more afoot when the children of God separate. Father, keep us vigilant in our friendships to identify and eliminate sources of strife and division.