Thought For Today

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Friendships Formed Out of Hatred

Will and my gentle hearted friend Gerry golfing together.



In reading Luke 23 this morning I ran across the verse (v. 12) where Herod and Pilot became friends on the day that Pilot sent Jesus to Herod to be judged by him.  Pilot, a Roman leader assigned to rule around the area of Jerusalem found that it was a very volatile political climate when first taking office in Judea.  Anyone in Rome taking this job knew that it was not considered a plum assignment.  The Jews were bitterly upset that Rome was telling them what to do by running every aspect of their lives.  The soldiers of Rome bore much of the brunt of insults hurled at them for enforcing the edicts of Rome.  On the other hand, the Jews wanted to be self-ruled and wanted little to do with their oppressors.  Herod Antipas, who had been given an area to rule in the north around Galilee, by Rome, was also in a place that put him in bad stead with the Jews in his territory.  He seemed to antagonize the Jews in one-way or the other.  For instance, one of his building projects was constructed over a Jewish cemetery, which did not add to his popularity among his subjects.  Needless to say Herod’s life was very colorful with intrigue and subterfuge for most of his rule.

Scandinavian church from the Middle Ages Era
As I alluded to earlier, history records that Herod and Pilot were not friends in their respective neighboring areas of rule.  The one thing that the Bible records as earlier stated, was that it was the incident of Pilot sending Jesus to Herod for his ruling on Jesus’ innocence or guilt that made them friends.   Since Jesus was living within Herod’s domain, Pilot felt that Herod could make the decision for Jesus’ innocence or guilt.  Pilot technically though could have been guilty of breaking Roman law by giving Jesus over to Herod; this was due to the fact that Jesus could only be convicted in the territory of his birth, and not the area where he was preaching in.  In either case, Jesus ended up being sent back by Herod to Pilot for trial.  This move could have been interpreted by Pilot as a sign of support for his earlier decision that Jesus was indeed not guilty of the crimes the Jewish authorities placed on him.  In either case though, a friendship was established between these two rulers over a mutual dislike for the Jewish citizens, and the person that was causing so much discord among the people, Jesus.

How many times have you heard two people talking badly about a third person?  You are puzzled because, before their discussion with each other, they were enemies one to another.  You now realize that their friendship is based on a mutual hatred for this third party.  In the end, one can foresee this newfound relationship between the two former enemies will follow the way of mistrust and hatred for each other.  One person once said to me, “Augie, if your friend speaks about others of whom you know, in such a bad way, why will he not talk critically about you to others when you are not present?”  After much thought, I realized that he was right.  This person could not be trusted, and so I needed to be guarded around him and not share anything of confidence with this man. 

Visitor to our feeder.
There is an old story about the snake and the frog.  The frog wanted to get across the river, but could not because of the strong river current.  A snake came along and said that he would carry the frog across.  The frog was obviously hesitant about the prospect of the snake actually coming through with his promise.  After much conversation, the frog was convinced that the snake had genuinely wanted take the frog safely across the river, and so he hopped on to the snake’s back.  Half way across the river the snake turned around and bit the frog.  As the frog felt his life ebbing away, he realized that he had placed his trust in the wrong individual.   All the snake did was to shrug and say, “I cannot change who I am.”  Counselors tell their patients that the only person they can change is oneself, no one else.  If we are around those that talk badly about others, then perhaps it is time to change friends.  

Luke 6:31 states that we should treat others, as we would like to be treated.  If our friends are talking badly of others, then perhaps we should re-evaluate our friendships with them.  In the end of Herod’s life, he realized how broken it was, he was left dejected with no friends to support him.  Herod’s life was based on hatred, suspicion, and envy. 

Visitor to our meadow.
If we look at our friends, can we see our reflection?  Are they kind, loving, forgiving of others, or are they selfish, envious, full of hatred, and do they talk to others behind their friend's backs?  One person once said, you can tell a person by the friends that they keep.  Who are your friends?

Jesus can and will help us to change, if our heart desires to do his will and become more like him.  Christ gives us strength when we find none, and he can help us to change into the individual we were created to be. 

2nd Corth. 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Rev. 3:20  “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”  Christ was addressing Christians in Revelation 3:20.  He wants to be apart of our life if we invite him in.  Pray for those in need of Jesus, and ask him to change your life if you find yourself in the position of sharing too much with others about your friends.
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