At times it is hard to know who your friends are. Someone you think is close to you turns on the street and gently puts a knife in your back through the words and stories they tell. Another reaches out in friendship and support when the wind is blowing one way, only to turn and promote a falsehood for their advantage when nobody is looking. It is as if you never know if the person next to you is an ally working on your side or a weasel looking to take a nip out of your backside when you relax your guard.
There are two sayings that set the frame in helping one know which is which. First, “anyone who tells lies against the neighbors in court or on the street is a loose cannon.” (Proverbs 25.18) Loose cannons are weasels. One can never predict what is going to happen and when.
On the other hand, it is the comments made on the street when nobody is looking that reveal a person’s true form. When one’s conversation about others reflects words like unconditional acceptance, forgiveness and mercy, and compassion it is then that one knows that this is a friend that will be loyal to the end.
Ironically the words of the allies and weasel eventually come full circle to those under discussion. How can one trust anything that comes from a person who says things for their advantage when you are not around? Is there an answer to a lie in public court? When self takes precedence over others how is the next choice going to be any different?
Yet, when one knows that a friend is true, candid, and consistent then the relationship opens up for mutual support, accountability, and mentoring. These are the relationships that make life richer, fuller, and greater than one could ever imagine.
Knowing the difference is often not easy. Words can be misunderstood; perceptions change the course of the future. Whatever happens, my reminder is simple and direct. God is always on your side and mine, period.