2 Samuel 13:3 “But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.”
There are many things that make up who we are in life. One of the key elements are those we call our friends. This account of Amnon and Jonadab reveal the power of what a friendship can do.
Everything that Amnon felt and desired was good until he decided to act on his feelings. He could have chosen the path of righteousness and inquired of David for Tamar to be his wife. But he chose to listen to the ungodly counsel of a friend – Jonadab.
They conspired together to take her purity by force. Even after he had done so, he could have righted the matter by coming forward to declare his love and marry her, which he did not as well.
Often, we follow through on our wicked designs even when we know we shouldn’t because we have so-called ‘friends’ we are trying to impress, gain our confidence, or seek acceptance. These so-called friends are never there when the situation goes south. They’re never there to stand up for us. They do not come to testify of our righteous intent, our innocence or support us through the hard times.
Who wants friends like that?
We have a principle we teach in our addictions program:
“Those who do not love the Lord, will not help us serve the Lord.”
Many of us could testify of the times of our failure, bad decisions, or sinful activity; there were so-called ‘friends’ that were egging us on to go one step farther into sin. There love and affection were so far from godly, is it any wonder we ended up where did?
Looking back, there were those who I had called ‘friends’ in the days of my wickedness. For almost all of them, I have no idea where they are today. For those I do know, their lives are so filled with the ravages of sin, they are shells of their former selves. In such cases, I have tried to reach out to help and most are hardened to God and the gospel.
Those whom we choose to draw close have an influence that can be lasting. As friendships deepen, they can be foundational in the forming of our character, defining our future and altering the course of our life. Parents know exactly what this means.
As our children grew, there were influences from which we protected them. There were others that were not easily discernible until later. We can never keep our children from every evil influence, but we must – along with the protection – tell them why. That way, they can see through biblical eyes why God would keep us from the gossip, the scorner, the critic, the backslider, and the unsaved.
Look on your friendships today. Are they those that will help you to become more of what God has called you to be? Or they more of a hinderance?
In our addiction program, we take drastic measures. We tell those struggling that they must delete all lines of communication to those who would make it easy for them to go back to their old life. We tell them how to respond to invitations and requests to spend time. We show them the value of replacing those caustic relationships with those of positive peer pressure.
The ‘Doctrine of Replacement’ where we stop the bad behavior and replace it with something biblically blessed of God. Sleeping in on Sunday with church attendance. Friday night partying with a meeting with those who share the same struggles and want right. Reading your bible instead of amusements.
True friends are those who will tell you things you may not be willing to tell yourself. They watch for your soul.
Consider today, just who you call ‘friend’ and match it with your walk with God – are they a help or a hindrance? Once you know that, you know what you have to do.