"Facing Our Frenemy"

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By: Karen Ehman
Proverbs 31 Speaker

"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. I especially love to learn new words, thereby increasing my vocabulary.

Every so often, dictionaries must be updated with new words or new meanings to old words. For instance, a new word in Merriam-Webster’s latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary literally leapt off the page at me: "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 something that I wanted.

Today, Facebook and MySpace have only given rise to the number of frenemies who exist. How many of us have "accepted" someone as a friend on Facebook, not because we like her and really want to be her friend, but to "spy” on her and keep up on what is happening in her life? 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 promises happiness, but delivers sorrow. He tricks, traps and leaves us regretful of our choices. His ways sparkle and glitter and entice. But in the end, they are dark. 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 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, honest and true. We should seek to be authentic 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.


Ponder: 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)

Apply: Make a list of ways you can guard yourself from being a false friend or having a false friendship?

Share: Do you recall a time in your life when you had a frenemy? Once the truth was revealed, how did you feel?

© 2009-2010 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Karen Ehman is a nationally known writer and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Though hopelessly craft-challenged with pitiful, partially finished scrapbooks, she enjoys baking and cooking and has won several blue ribbons at various county fairs for her cookies, cakes, pies and breads. Karen lives in Michigan with her family.

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