Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Mean Friend

Do you have a mean friend?  That friend that will tell you the truth when everyone else politely lies? (“Hey Honey, your new deodorant isn’t doing the trick!”).  That friend who will ask you the hard questions, (“Yes, I understand she’s annoying, but are you exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit?”).  The friend who reminds you of your own responsibility, (“This is the just the kind of growth you were praying for!”) That friend who prays for you and cries with you, but she’ll also confess with you and call you to repent?

I have that friend.  Sometimes I am that friend.  And we all need a friend like that to love us enough to tell us the truth. 

Speaking of the truth, it is is hard to swallow, as the defeat of Ahab illustrates.

Once good king Jehoshaphat went up to Israel to ally himself with Ahab, the evil king of Israel, to go to war against Aram.  But before he fully committed, he asked Ahab to inquire of the Lord.  Ahab called in his pet prophets, who unanimously agreed that the campaign would be a great success.  

Jehoshaphat however saw right through this shell game and asked again for a prophet of the Lord. Ahab replied, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”


Let that sink in.  There was one person, just one, in Ahab’s life that was willing to tell him the absolute truth.  And because Ahab hated the truth, he hated the messenger.

So they call in Micaiah and he, despite the urging of his handlers has nothing but bad news for Ahab.  

            I saw all Israel
            Scattered on the mountains,
            Like sheep which have no shepherd.
            And the LORD said, ‘These have no master.
            Let each of them return to his house in peace. 
            ( 2 Chronicles 18:6)

Ahab has plenty of brown-nosers, sycophants, and users.  He has exactly one guy who loves God and tells the truth.  But Ahab has no time for inconvenient truth, instead he heads out for a battle doomed from the start.  A battle he does not survive (2 Chronicles 18).

Listening to someone who loves us and has honest but hard words to say, can be tough.  Solomon reminds us of this: "Faithful are the wounds of a friend,/But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy"(Proverbs 27:6). Notice that they are still wounds.  The truth really can hurt us but these are faithful-the result of the love that our friend bears us. 

But I don't want to be Ahab headed for a self-created disaster.  I don't want anyone I love to be there either.  So when you read something here on this blog and you say you yourself, "Ouch, Helene" was that really necessary?  Couldn't I have gone on about my life without that thought?" Please remember I love you and I'll listen to you when it's my turn to be rebuked. 

Please don't be Ahab.  Don't ignore the warning of God.  And don't hate your mean friends.  


PS. Looking for more applications from the lives of Bible characters? Check out this or this.


  1. Wonderful! I've never thought of this particular application for this lesson, but usually just think about how unwise Ahab is for not heeding counsel. I want to be the kind of friend who speaks hard truth!

    1. You are so right, Michele! Aha brought his own death upon himself by refusing to listen to God's wisdom. We have to pay attention to the wise and loving people in our lives!

  2. I know exactly what you mean. Every time someone rubs me the wrong way, I pray for God to help me love them more and reveal their motivations. I actually need more people who are willing to offend me in my life! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Yes! Finding ways to see past other people's abrasiveness or even sin to hear the wise rebuke and change is a constant challenge! But something that gives us enormous power.