July 28, 2009
Women: Friend or Foe?
“I'm a friend and companion of all who fear you, of those committed to living by your rules.” Psalm 119:63 (MSG)
Not long ago I would’ve told you that I don’t much like women. I counted a few as friends, but the rest of the gender I dismissed categorically as too much trouble. Never a “tomboy” by any stretch of the imagination, I just found guys so much easier to deal with. They generally say what they mean, let you know where you stand, and never size you up to determine who has the better haircut.
I didn’t want to distrust women, but the majority of females in my life at the time evoked that response. They were catty, competitive, and conniving. They gossiped, backstabbed and manipulated. I have to admit that I often responded in kind. Isn’t it strange how addictive relational drama can be?
I’m told you can put a frog in a pot of cold water on the stove and gradually turn up the heat, and it will stay in the pot until it reaches a fatal boil without attempting escape. Evidently the frog doesn’t realize how unhealthy the situation is slowly becoming. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that fable - I’d never boil a frog! - but I’ve been in a few friendships that were like that. I stayed way too long in the pot before I realized this isn’t healthy for me, and I got burned.
So what lead me to flip-flop my position on having girlfriends? First, I decided to follow Christ. This sparked many beneficial changes in my mind and spirit. Where I had been cynical and guarded, God’s love penetrated and softened my heart. I learned the meaning of Proverbs 18:24, “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother” (RSV). Christ was now my forever friend who could be trusted completely.
I also made changes in my choice of girlfriends. With the help of the Holy Spirit and lessons on character from the book of Proverbs, I learned to recognize which people and relational patterns were unhealthy for me. I was ready to be rid of the drama! The Bible teaches, “He who walks with the wise grows wise” (Proverbs 13:20, NIV). I wanted to walk with wise women through life. Many of my current-at-the-time friendships ran their natural course and dissolved. A few transformed along with me. But a few I deliberately phased out because my own character wasn’t strong enough yet to remain Christ-like in their company.
Meanwhile, I prayed for quality friendships with women of faith. God heard my prayers, just as the Bible promises He does. Fun-loving, God-loving, gracious women at my church sought me out and invited me out. And I made the choice to trust them and invest. I discovered how beneficial it is to surround yourself with women who inspire your walk with God.
Over time, God birthed in me a huge love and great compassion for women. I began seeing them through His eyes and not just the lens of my own hurtful past. I realized that not all women are like those I had known. I also learned to forgive and pray for those who’ve hurt me. Today I cherish my friendships with the women in my life.
What about you? How are your friendships? Do you find yourself entangled in an unhealthy relationship? Are you in emotional hiding after being burned? Maybe you’ve written off the entire gender because of the trouble you’ve seen. Take that to God and ask Him to heal and bring restoration to your heart. Ask Him to send godly, wise women into your life. Then muster up the courage to respond and befriend them.
Neither gender is categorically a foe – but I count myself happy to be sipping tea, playing Dominos, doing Bible study, shopping and sharing my dreams with sisters of the fairer sex. Won’t you join us?
Dear Lord, I want to have good friends, and to be a good friend. Help me to develop godly friendships, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself by Mary Lance V. Sisk
Study the book of Proverbs in the Bible and learn the traits of trustworthy character so you can develop them yourself and recognize them in others.
Is there someone you can befriend? Striking up a friendship can be a great way to introduce a gal to Christ.
What is the current state of your friendships – are they nurturing? Godly?
Are you open to making new friends? Why or why not?
James 2:23, “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God's friend.” (NIV)
Proverbs 22:11, “If you love purity of heart and graciousness of speech, the king will be your friend.” (GNT)
© 2009 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 28 July 2009.