Friends You Can Trust

Which friends can you trust? This question has haunted humans since the beginning. Abel trusted his brother, Cain. Cain asked Abel to go out to the field with him. Abel was apparently unaware of the building hatred that his brother had for him. Despite Abel’s trust, Cain attacked and killed his brother. 

Psalm 62 speaks of this hidden, selfish agenda of deception and hatred. Speaking of his enemies, David says:

They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts.

The darkness of the human heart doesn’t change. What can we learn from David and the narrative of Cain? There are at least two important take-aways.

Cain attempted to make God conform to his own idea of worship. He wanted God to approve of him based on what he thought was right. Cain required God to love him based on his idea of love. But it doesn’t work that way in real life. God lovingly challenges Cain, that if he worships God as God commands, everything will be fine and Cain will have the acceptance he so desperately wanted. 

But this was not enough for Cain. Because God would not conform to his desires Cain’s anger grew to the point where he murdered his brother. Cain made Abel the problem instead of his own selfish desires. 

Here is the first thing we can learn: people who consistently praise you but don’t constructively challenge you are not people you can trust as friends. Notice the wording of the psalm:

They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts.

Words alone do not form the basis of true friendship.  The Proverbs confirms this:

Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.

So beware of those who only show their commitment by their words.

The second thing to learn is from the first part of Psalm 62, only in God is there safety and security. In other words, don’t look for things in people that only God can provide. Because we are all born with selfish desires and habit patterns, there is no human who will not in some way disappoint you or hurt you. Don’t trust people to do what only God can do.  Cain was mad that Abel had pleased God and he had not. Thus, he made Abel the problem rather than his selfish desire to have it his way.

The most secure, safe place to be, the safest thing to do is to follow God and love his direction. This is is what only on God truly means. His presence, his commands, his thoughts are the only safe place to be. Safety for Cain was following Abel’s example that honored God. Instead, he honored himself and went to the place of danger.

God’s ways are the safe, secure ways. If we follow our desires we leave turn away from safety and embrace selfish destruction, just like Cain.

People who lavish us with praise lead us not to safety but to danger.  Seek out those who love you enough to tell you the truth about yourself that you need to hear. Run to the place of safety. Only in God are peace and security. Only in God is there hope.  Only in God can you find friends you can trust.


Shepherd Press