Friendship: When Friendships Fail

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”

– Proverbs 22:24-25 NIV

This is part two of my 3-part message on friendship.

photo: Raye Wortel

I was a new stay-at-home mom, and the closeness and solitude (except for the baby!) of our home made me eager to get out and stretch my legs, and exercise my talkative nature.


I needed to find some friends.


So, I joined a local mom’s club, and soon became friends with a group of ladies.  We were all relatively new to the “mom” thing, so we often shared ideas, plans, and advice.


For three years, we experienced the ups and downs of each other’s company.  A few of the ladies in our group tended to express criticisms and judgements freely, and gossiping was the conversation of choice.  Still, I thought of them as good friends – my only friends.


When my daughter was around four years old, I was voted president of our organization.


I started to expand my circle of friends, and realized how increasingly unhappy I was with the relationships I had with my older friends.


Were these true friendships?  If so, why were these women so depleting?


A few months went by, and a disagreement broke out when one of my older friends verbally mistreated another mom.  As the leader of the group, I had to step in and try to fix it. Unfortunately, my friend was only interested in yelling, screaming and blaming.  Good women left the group that day, and I regret not doing, or saying something more to improve the situation.


Oddly, I continued to hang on to my old friends.  Although my relationships with them were pathetic, I clung to them for fear of having to go through life without friends.


Then God stepped in, and zapped me with a lightning bolt.


One day, I received a letter in the mail with no return address.  Curious, I opened the envelope, and found a copy of an article titled, What to do When You’re a Control Freak, by some psychologist.  The words, “control freak” were also scrawled across the top of the page in marker.


The letter wasn’t signed, but I knew full well who had sent it.


Hurt and anger rose in me, but immediately I knew I would not respond or retaliate in anyway.


Later that same day, as I was leaving for an appointment, I found a surprise in our driveway.  A few weeks before, I had asked one of my old friends if she would be in charge of a newspaper fundraiser we were doing for the local fire department.  She seemed agreeable, and I was happy to have the help.


After she collected the newspapers, she saw fit to dump them all over our driveway – hundreds of newspapers blowing in the wind.


I suddenly felt like I was back in junior high.


Is this really what friendships looks like?


Although I never confronted these women, I spent two years carrying around the hurt and betrayal of their actions.


Friendships fail.  Whether it’s a slow decay that happens with the ebb and flow of life, or an explosion filled with hurt and bitterness, friendships vanish.


Yet, there’s hope in the midst of these failings.  I firmly believe God removed me from these women.  I saw the signs years before.  The gossiping and ugliness surrounded me, yet I was more concerned with having friends – any friends, that I wasn’t mindful of the quality of friends I had.


Matthew Henry, an English commentator on the Bible, said this about the verse I chose for today’s post:


“Our corrupt hearts have so much tinder in them, that it is

dangerous to have to do with those that throw about the sparks of their passion.”


God protects us from the fiery “sparks” of others!  Sparks that can easily burn into us a bitterness, a stubbornness, or a deceitfulness that moves us far from him – our source of Light and Life.


Since that day, I prayed the Lord would send me a friend.  A true friend in his eyes – not mine, and he has richly blessed me.


I no longer feel saddened by the loss of my old “friends”, rather I’m grateful for a loving Father who cared enough to take me away from soul depleting people, and prepare me to accept the gift of true, lasting friendship.


Next week’s message: Friendship: Jesus Calls Us Friend!

Last week’s message:  Friendship: 10 Thoughts on True Friendships

2 Replies

  1. Leslie Whitley

    Thanks for these wise words Raye. Big hugs for what you went through and also learned from. Leslie

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