I’ve learned a little bit about friendship over the years. Many lessons were learned on that grade school playground, but the one I want to share today I learned a number of years ago as an adult. It all began with a coyote.
My family and I were traveling to visit relatives when we saw a coyote on the plains in the distance. My husband mentioned how people hunt them down by using a wounded prey call. I don’t know how God gets your attention, but at that moment He got mine. The best way I can describe it is if my chest were a guitar, a string just got plucked. When that happens I pay attention. There was something about that “wounded prey call” statement, I just didn’t know what yet. I needed to give God time to explain. It didn’t take Him long to do just that.
A day or two later I found myself at church early and alone with my mentor. She and another woman taught a Sunday school class for young moms. (Don’t fit into that category anymore.) I asked her what came to mind when I mentioned “wounded prey call.” Without hesitation she explained, and God laid things bare through her.
She said we will encounter people in our lives that are wounded. Some will use their wounds as a call to draw us in. People may do this for a multitude of reasons, but in the case of a wounded prey call, the call is sounded while hunting, drawing an animal in to destroy it. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. She went on to say, we can’t help everyone and fix everything. Be wise. Don’t get distracted from what God has called you to do.
I took a moment to absorb her words. (I also pondered how she could figure things out so quickly, when it had evaded me for so long… 24 hours at least.) Wow. The wounded prey call revelation was one of three things that confirmed I wasn’t to pursue a friendship with a certain woman. She was a sweetheart, and I genuinely liked her. In fact, not growing a friendship with her wasn’t even on my radar until all this happened.
The second confirmation I received was my husband telling me he wasn’t comfortable with this friendship. He had never said that about anyone before and hasn’t since, so he had my attention. My husband is a believer, but even if yours isn’t, he is still your protector and teammate. If he sees danger ahead, respect his voice and heed his warning.
During that same time frame, a friend called shortly after I got off the phone with this person. I made an extremely vague comment in passing, not mentioning names or anything. It was something like - “I just got off the phone before you called.” I know it was the Holy Spirit, because she named names and firmly but lovingly told me to be careful. Now I’m not the brightest lightbulb out there, but I was beginning to catch a clue.
God knows our motives and wounds. He knows our capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. He knows who is seriously seeking help and who is simply seeking attention, wanting to draw us into their pit with them. He knows which friendships will be beneficial to them AND to us.
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;... everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.” Isaiah 30:1,5 ESV
First, I’m not calling you a stubborn child. (I’ve been called stubborn, and rightfully so, but like I said, I’ve learned some lessons through the years. Don’t call people names, for one.) Seriously, though,... There are obvious relationships I know not to pursue. But I didn’t realize there are “nice” people we aren’t to unite our lives with also. Not all friendships are supported by God.
My takeaway: We need to follow the Spirit’s leading when we unite ourselves with others through friendship. Not every alliance brings help and protection. Not every friendship is blessed by our Father and profitable for His purposes. Some relationships breed sin, confusion, pain, and destruction. Be careful. But even moreso, be prayerful.
As I’ve grown in my relationship with the Lord, I’ve discovered there is a purposefulness to relationships. God isn’t haphazard with His relationships, so I need to follow His lead and stop treating relationships so carelessly and mindlessly. I don’t have relationships mastered, not by a long shot, but the more I realize the power of relationship, the more I try to submit to God’s leading in them.
I hope this isn’t the case, but I have to wonder if some of you had someone come to mind while reading this. God showed me how to navigate this situation - He will help you, too. Just ask Him. Additionally, I realized if I disobeyed (after He had made it so clear), I could be hindering His work in this person’s life and quite possibly my own.
I mentioned being prayerful - I got a little time right now...
I love that You are relational, and You want healthy relationships for us. Give us Your heart AND Your discernment. Help us navigate friendships, making it obvious to us when one shouldn’t be pursued. Please give us courage to make any necessary changes and help us let go of the alliances that are not of You. May we trust You, knowing You want to help, love on, and take care of people, and You know the best way to do so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Taking a hint,
P.S. I don’t want to leave the impression we withhold or are a scrooge with God’s love that flows through us. We need to love freely and abundantly as God loves us WITH His perfect wisdom and guidance.