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Monday, August 14, 2006
"That day Herod and Pilate became friends--before this they had been enemies" (Luke 23:12).
Brooksyne and I are blessed with many friends. As you get older you especially value long-term friendships. Of course we continue to develop new friendships along the way and expect that many of these will also become long-term.
Bruce and Cindy, pictured in front of our backyard fishpond, became our friends in the early eighties. Though we now live about 200 miles apart I recently talked to Bruce over the phone. He has a joyful disposition along with a loud, distinctive laugh that brightens a setting, whether you're the only one present or whether there's a room full of people. Though the miles separate and the visits are infrequent, just the mention of Bruce's name brings a smile to Ester's face. There are several readers who know Bruce personally and I would guess that you're smiling too. He just has that kind of affect on people. There's little doubt that you know somebody like Bruce. I sure hope so!
Friendships can either be based on positive, constructive mutual interests or (as in the case of Herod and Pilate) negative, destructive interests. I've seen both kinds of friendships and recall a time when I was pulled into the negative group.
Returning home from Bible College one summer I was enlisted by a disgruntled church member to come up against the pastor and his wife regarding an issue I had absolutely no business being involved in. My "friend" had persuaded me of the rightness of his side of the issue and I never really got the "other" side. I still recall the surprise and hurt I caused my dedicated pastor and his wife. In my years of pastoring I was occasionally the recipient of this same treatment and know personally the pain it inflicts.
Prior to Christ's trial Herod and Pilate were bitter political enemies. Both had their ambitions and sought to gain Caesar's favor as rulers over the troubled Palestinian region in the Roman Empire.
But the old phrase "politics makes strange bedfellows" is very evident in their relationship. That day they quickly became "friends". I can just see them grinning as they shook hands or as they patted one another on the back. I believe the careful historian Luke is being sarcastic when he wrote this and he describes a very sad type of "friendship" that can be seen to this day, particularly in politics.
What kind of friends do you have? What do you talk about when you get together? Is it positive and constructive as you share deeply held mutual interests and values? Or is it negative and destructive? I sure don't want Herod and Pilate to be my models for friendship. What about you?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Brooksyne's prayer: Jesus, I consider the character traits that make a healthy friendship. Loyalty, compassion, kindness, honesty, patience, forgiveness and a listening ear are just a few of the qualities that are evident in a good friendship. There are so many stories in the Gospels where these qualities are easily seen in the friendships You had with the disciples and others. May the foundation of my friendships be based on godly traits as I come alongside my friends to encourage, challenge, inspire, and stimulate them toward good works in Your name. Amen.
Caterpillar (click on image to enlarge)
Do you know what this caterpillar becomes?
Answer here as specifically as possible.
This will be the theme of a future message!
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