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Monday, May 31, 2021

Friend Or Enemy?

By Joe Slater

    At first the Galatians Christians counted Paul as a friend – indeed, as a beloved brother who had led them to the Lord. They would have done anything to help him, even to the extreme of plucking out their own eyes, had that been possible (Galatians 4:15). Now, however, false teachers had slandered Paul, and the fickle Galatians had fallen for it. The frustrated apostle asked in the next verse, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” How tragically foolish to treat a faithful proclaimer of truth as an enemy!
    But it was nothing new. Centuries beforehand, God sent Elijah to rebuke King Ahab for murdering Naboth to steal his vineyard. Ahab reproached the prophet thusly: “Have you found me, O my enemy?” (1 Kings 21:20). Truth be told, Elijah was Ahab’s best friend. Warning the king of impending judgment gave him opportunity to repent. But evil Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel preferred to kill the messenger!
    Even before the time of Ahab, the apostate King Saul attempted to murder his faithful warrior David despite having sworn in the name of the Lord not to do so. Saul reprimanded his own daughter for hiding David, referring to him as “my enemy” (1 Samuel 19:17). Like Ahab and the Galatians, Saul’s own sins twisted his mind into treating a true friend as an enemy.
    Loyal servants of God will not simply tell you what you want to hear. Because they are your friends, they will tell you the truth.
    Do not expect worldly people to appreciate you when you speak the truth. They may well see you as their enemy! “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com


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