The Dark Side of Friendships

Dr. Stephen Phinney

My mentor, Dr. David Jeremiah, said,

“Everyone we meet is a hero waiting to happen. When Jesus saw people, He envisioned their potential. No respecter of persons, He associated with people from all walks of life.”


My reply was not as positive. “My experience with “friends” typically results in betrayal, Christianized lies, fake love, and a bewildering sense of ambiguity.”

Let’s be truthful. There is a dark side to all friendships. People, in general, indwelt by Christ or not, have a dark side (flesh) that enjoys demanding control over relationships. Seriously, look at Jesus’s supposed friends. The only disciple that remained loyal to the end was the “beloved John.” One disciple sold him to the enemy, and the other ten disciples hid in the dark corners of ambiguity. During all this, Jesus’s Father stepped back from His Son while hanging on the Cross – resulting in Jesus “feeling” such loneliness that he said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Like most outspoken Christians, I have had my share of betrayal and isolation in friendships. God knows that when we make His priorities our priorities, our relationships become opportunities for refinement. None of God’s Bridal members are chosen for His Son based on faithfulness and loyalty. Jesus knew ahead of time that 90% of His disciples would fall asleep on Him in His darkest hour. He also knew that each would hide behind the skirt of fear when associating themselves with their Savior under pressure. However, He also knew this was the refining process of devoted, unmovable loyalty that Christ could count on after His resurrection. It was as if betrayal was a phase for loyalists. Or maybe He needed to act out His own words, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Did His disciples persecute Him? Without a doubt. Betrayal is the type of persecution that His enemy, Satan, has used on Him since he tried to pick a fight with Jesus before the world’s creation. Betrayal is the action of disloyalty, treachery, perfidiousness, fake faith, faithlessness, falseness, duplicity, deception, and double-dealing. My favorite is “double-dealing,” which is a covert act