In my quest to be a prudent and frugal woman of God, I have discovered that we need to be cautious in our friendships. When we become friends with the wrong types of people, it might not necessarily drain us financially. However, it can certainly drain us physically and emotionally, not to mention keeping us from being as effective in other areas where the Lord desires to use us. The toll it can take on our families can be very pricy, thus we are wise to be cautious in friendship. I have written some devotions along those lines, sharing from my own experiences in order to try to help others learn not to make the same mistakes I did. Here is the first of those devotions:
It is a noble thing for a woman to desire to model Titus 2:3-5. However, because a woman has a passion to minister to other women, she can easily fall prey to the tactics of a user. Women who are timid find it difficult to say “no” to a user. Women with strong personalities often find pleasure in being asked to share their opinions.
I met a lady whom I will call Betty. We hit it off very well, seeming to share the same values. We forged a friendship, attending some of the same classes, and even visiting each other on occasion.
I began to notice a pattern to our conversations. They seemed to revolve around the happenings in her life. She was constantly seeking my advice. When I would respond with scripture, she would quickly affirm my insights with comments like, “Oh, that is good,” or “I never thought of it like that.” Because I thrive on words of affirmation, I never seemed to notice that she rarely brought scripture into our conversations.
Several months later, Betty was faced with a difficult dilemma. Because of my desire to help women, I spent a great deal of time counseling her with a scriptural approach to her situation. A few times I even left messages for her, stating that I had some more information which she may find helpful. Those calls were always quickly returned. Yet on other occasions, she would rarely, if ever, return my calls.
One evening, I was quite stressed and in despair over a situation of my own. I knew Betty had faced this very circumstance, so I decided to call her. I left a message for her, leaving no doubt as to my frame of mind. I knew I could count on her to help me. After all, Betty was my friend. However, she never returned my phone call.
As I pondered and prayed about this, I realized that I was not being unreasonable in feeling that I deserved a return phone call, for true friends are kind to each other. (Job 6:14)
I also came upon the realization that some people are only friends with us if we give them gifts. (Proverbs 19:6) I had poured myself into Betty’s life, yet was not getting anything in return. I discerned that what Betty was doing was using me. She was seeking the spiritual food which I had earnestly sought so she would not have to be diligent in the Word herself.
By trying to be a Titus 2 woman, I had ended up becoming spiritually used, allowing her to use up my time, my energy, and my spiritual food.
The Word tells us that faithful friendships are refreshing. (Proverbs 27:9) A true friend sticks by you in good times and bad times. (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24) Real friends are like iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17) If you cannot say this is true of your friendships, perhaps you have also been spiritually used.
Take some time to evaluate your friendships. Have you been spiritually used?
© 2007, Stacy R. Miller