A young Hound started a Hare, and, when he caught her up, would at one moment snap at her with his teeth as though he were about to kill her, while at another he would let go his hold and frisk about her, as if he were playing with another dog. At last the Hare said, “I wish you would show yourself in your true colours! If you are my friend, why do you bite me? If you are my enemy, why do you play with me?”

Moral: He is no friend who plays double.

– “The Hound and the Hare”, a fable of Aesop

We’ve all probably known her at one point or another: the friend that can’t decide whether to go or stay; the friend that can’t decide whether she loves me, or she loves me not. Such a friend slowly detaches herself from your life until at last, the friendship that once was becomes nothing but a bittersweet memory, never to be enjoyed again.

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. – Psalm 41:9

One of the most underrated heartbreaks one can experience is the heartbreak of a fractured friendship. The slow loss of a friend is a pain that we mourn in silence, for a friendship’s end is not marked by an obituary, a writ of divorce, or a termination notice. Fractured friendships leave behind no tangible evidence, but only an invisible wound to the heart.

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng. – Psalm 55:12-13

If you have ever had to ask yourself if your friend “loves you” or “loves you not”, if you have ever been hit with the painful realization that she is pulling away from your camaraderie, if you have ever felt the bitter sting of betrayal because she didn’t hold your friendship in the same esteem that you did…I understand your ache, and I am truly sorry. I can’t make your disloyal friend come back; but what I can do is extend a loyal hand of friendship to you, and I can share a few things I have learned through my own injurious experience.

There are three facts about a fractured friendship that need to be accepted before proper healing can take place in your heart. The first fact is:

“Well this sounds nice, doesn’t it? She loves me!”

But did you notice the comma? A sad reality with some friends is that they are not in it for the long haul, but will only love you for a time. While you were seeing a kindred spirit reflected in your friend, a real bosom buddy that you connected with and wanted to hang onto forever; she only saw you as a temporary bit of cheer. She viewed you as disposable.

King David acquired a fair-weather friend such as this when he was a young man. In 1 Samuel 16, we learn that Saul, the first king of Israel, had been contending with “an evil spirit” that “terrorized” him. Saul’s servants advised him to find a skilled harpist to soothe him whenever he found himself in distress. Saul agreed with this idea and commanded, “provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me.” (v. 17) We all know the famous harpist who was chosen: David. Notice Saul’s strong emotional reaction upon their meeting:

Then David came to Saul and attended him; and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer. Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” – 1 Samuel 16:21-22 (emphasis added)

David was in with the king! He had risen from his lifestyle as a common shepherd boy and become Saul’s personal entertainer and armor bearer. Saul was crazy about this kid and made quick friends with him. Unfortunately, Saul was not committed to be a forever friend to David. Saul was a “he loves me comma” kinda pal. Now, with a true friend, there is no comma after “he/she loves me”. In fact, Proverbs 17:17a says that, “A friend loves at all times”. Saul certainly did not love David at all times or for all time. In fact, this new “friend” of David’s would one day be transformed into his number one enemy.

If your gal pal is as fickle in heart as Saul was toward David, then you’ll need to accept that “she loves me comma” will soon be exchanged for the bitter fact that:

If you are a true friend, it’s hard to swallow that not everyone has a loyal heart like yours. You think, “how could someone just walk away without so much as a parting glance, when they meant so much to me?” If you allow your mind to dwell on your friend’s departure, questions such as these will plague your thoughts and the injustice of it all will drive you mad. Painful as it is, you have to realize that she’s not like you. Perhaps your friend never truly cared for you to begin with, or something happened that turned her away; but the fact remains that she doesn’t share your sense of loyalty…when she is done with you, she is done. You can try to hold onto the friendship with all your might, but if your friend doesn’t return your love, the tightest grasp will not keep her. Let her go, allow yourself to mourn the fellowship that is lost, and keep your heart soft so that you can be a loyal friend to others who will return your devotion.

I know what you might be thinking. Try as you may to move on, the question still begs to be asked: “why does she love me not“? If you showed yourself to be a good friend, what could have caused the fractured friendship? Sadly, no matter how true of a friend you are, there are numerous reasons a friendship can fracture. Here are just a few that the Bible mentions:

  • Friendships can fracture if your friend becomes jealous (as in the case of Joseph’s brothers). Genesis 37:4 says that, “His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.”
  • Friendships can fracture if your friend listens to gossip about you. We learn in Proverbs 16:28 & 17:9 that gossip has an uncanny ability of “separating intimate friends”.
  • Friendships can fracture if your friend decides that you’re no longer the life of the party. Proverbs 19:4 reveals that “wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend”. v. 7 goes on to say that “all the brothers of a poor man hate him; how much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone.

In Saul and David’s case, the reason for their fractured friendship was Saul’s severe jealousy. In 1 Samuel 18:7 (right after David had returned home from killing Goliath) women sang this chant: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Saul was enraged by jealousy at these words, and he allowed this jealousy to grow into hatred. 1 Samuel 18:9 marks the beginning of troubles for David: “Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.” What started as a promising friendship would never again be revisited. Saul’s jealousy drove him to deceive David, scheme against David, relentlessly chase after David, and attempt to murder David (on more than one occasion). Saul had foolishly allowed the words of some local fan-girls to have such an impact on him as to permanently fracture a friendship beyond repair.

If your gal pal has pulled a King Saul move and bid your friendship farewell, there is one very significant fact that I want you to remember. You would do well to remind yourself that even though your friendship with her has ended in a resounding “she loves me not“, you have one Friend that will never leave you nor forsake you. Your friendship with God continues with a resounding:

Even if every person you know should turn their back on you, never will you be truly friendless as long as you have the Lord in your life. He will never turn his back on a friend. He will never show himself to be disloyal. He will never break your heart. His friendship is the real deal.

A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24

When David fell out of favor with Saul, he did not fall out of favor with God. Saul saw David as a rival. God saw David as “a man after His own heart”. (Acts 13:22b) Saul inspired David to run from him. God inspired David to run to Him. Saul was David’s fair-weather friend. God was David’s forever friend. And He will likewise be a friend to you and me. We can choose to walk away from God, but He will never choose to walk away from us. Though the loss of human friendship undoubtedly inflicts pain to the heart, one can find comfort in His love.

A word of advice: don’t let a fractured friendship make you bitter. Just because your friend wasn’t willing to stick by you until the end, doesn’t mean that everybody is like her. Faithful hearts are hard to find, but just as sure as one exists in you, such a heart exists in another. Don’t write off future friendships, for our God has a way of “restoring the years that the locusts have eaten”. (Joel 2:25a) It just may be that He sends a true friend into your life that will not abandon you like the one who “loves you not”. This was certainly true for David. He found the truest friend in a man named Jonathan…ironically, this was Saul’s own son. It is said of Jonathan that he “loved David as himself.” (1 Samuel 18:3b) Even with all the troubles that David endured on account of his fractured friendship with Saul, David had faithful comrades in the Lord and Jonathan. David could truly say of them both: “He loves me.”

In conclusion…

Has your heart been put through the ringer by a friend? Remember: whether she loves you, or she loves you not…He loves you. She may have turned her back on you, but God will do no such thing. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) Focus on being the kind of friend that you wish your friend would have been. Keep that loyal heart of yours tender, and determine that you, unlike her, “do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend.” (Proverbs 27:10a)

David’s friendship, your friendship, and mine…fractured, every one. These friendships may be fractured beyond repair, but we are not. We pick up the fragments of our aching hearts and rise as stronger people for the lessons we have learned. We grow from the friends who loved us, and from the friends who loved us not, because we have a Friend who loves.

We are made of all those who have built and broken us.

– Atticus Poetry

For God’s glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.

Show and (Don’t) Tell

I can wash out forty four pairs of socks and have ’em hangin’ out on the line
I can starch and iron two dozen shirts ‘fore you can count from one to nine
I can scoop up a great big dipper full of lard from the drippin’s can
Throw it in the skillet, go out and do my shopping, be back before it melts in the pan
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

I can rub and scrub til this old house is shinin’ like a dime
Feed the baby, grease the car, and powder my face at the same time
Get all dressed up, go out and swing ’til four A.M. and then
Lay down at five, jump up at six, and start all over again
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

If you come to me sickly you know I’m gonna make you well
If you come to me all hexed up you know I’m gonna break the spell
If you come to me hungry you know I’m gonna fill you full of grits
If it’s lovin’ you’re likin’, I’ll kiss you and give you the shiverin’ fits
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

I got a twenty dollar gold piece says there ain’t nothing I can’t do
I can make a dress out of a feed bag and I can make a man out of you

‘Cause I’m a woman! A W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, and that’s all

– “I’m a Woman” by Peggy Lee

Women who read the lyrics to this song will most likely experience one of two knee-jerk reactions:

“Oh my, somebody’s a little over-confident. Ha!”


“Yes, that sounds just like me! Finally someone understands!”

If you fall into the first camp, it’s likely that you have a healthy view of your womanhood. However, if you fall into the second camp, your self-perspective just might need some adjusting. There is a dangerous tendency in humans to “think of themselves more highly than they ought to think”, as Paul warned about in Romans 12:3. This prideful thinking leads to unseemly and ungodly boasting, which a God-fearing woman will avoid like the plague.

Are you guilty of boasting? I’m afraid that this is a sin that often goes unrecognized, as it’s used among many women in everyday conversation. Practical examples include…

“Oh yes, I always do the yearly taxes for our family. You know how us wives are, just regular secretaries!”

“After I drop Jimmy off at soccer practice, I have to rush Timmy over to his piano lessons. You know how us moms are, chauffeuring everyone around all the time…”

“If I’m not cooking a meal, I’m grocery shopping for cooking a meal, or I’m prepping for cooking a meal, or I’m cleaning up after cooking a meal. You know how us homemakers are…we practically live in the kitchen.”

Boasting is not necessarily shouting, “I’m the best”, as you fly a flag bearing your name on it (though that would certainly fall into the category of boasting). More often, boasting is subtly sneaked in to conversation. Because it is part of our fleshly nature as humans to point to our own accomplishments, many women perhaps don’t even realize when they are boasting. Nevertheless, when we draw attention to ourselves by self-praising our roles as wives, mothers, etc. it is boasting. It is not humble. It is not meek. It is not discreet. A boast should no sooner escape a Christian woman’s lips than a swear word, a lie, or a cutting remark. While it may be tempting to seek compliments and approval from others, God calls us to serve in humility. He calls us to duty and self-sacrifice. He calls us to meekly and quietly perform good deeds, without seeking a pat on the back. As wives and mothers, the name of our game should be: show and (don’t) tell.

Today, I want to share with you two reasons that you and I don’t need boasting in our lives. Reason #1:

As a Christian woman, my aims in life are pretty straightforward:

  • Fear the Lord (Proverbs 31:30)
  • Help the husband (Genesis 2:18)
  • Raise the children (1 Timothy 2:15)
  • Keep the home (Titus 2:4)

Do I have any right to boast about performing these duties that the Lord expects of me? Not according to Jesus! He says:

…when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘we are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’ – Luke 17:10b

Being a God-fearing wife, mother, and homemaker is my job. To consider myself as more than an unworthy slave would be prideful, and to boast about my deeds would be ludicrous. I was made for this job, and every task I perform therein ought to be for the glory of God, not for the applause of humans. Ask yourself which reward is more gratifying: the praise of men, or of our Lord? We can’t seek after both…

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 6:1

Of course, there will be times where people will notice our work and praise us, and that’s a-okay. As long as we are not self-praising, or actively seeking the praise of others, it is appropriate to modestly receive compliments from others (though we must always be aware of keeping our egos in check).

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. – Proverbs 27:2

Be content to do your work quietly and and joyfully, and your reputation will precede you in the Kingdom of God…

Give her the product of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. – Proverbs 31:31

Show and (don’t) tell!

The most laudable and effective way to promote ourselves is to allow our works rather than our tongue to do it.

Leroy Brownlow, Thoughts of Gold

Reason #2 that you and I don’t need boasting in our lives…

I absolutely love being a woman. It truly is a joy to be in the role God created me for. All my life, I desired to be a wife, a mother, and a homemaker; and now I get to live that dream! I am in my happy place when I am at home with my family. I feel my best when I am being productive and needed. See, when you truly love doing something, you will rarely feel the need to boast when you do it…

  • The musician does not boast about how many hours he “drudges away” at his piano bench…it feels like mere minutes to him for his joy of the instrument.
  • The chef does not boast about how he “slaves over a hot cook-stove”…it hardly feels like labor to him for his joy of making delightful dishes.
  • The nanny does not boast about how she “wrangles rugrats”…it feels like playtime to her for her joy of spending time with little ones.

Like the old adage says, “choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. These kinds of “jobs” are more like hobbies to an individual suited to the task. Well, I am suited to the task of being a wife, mom, and homemaker. Why would I feel the need to boast about performing a job that is pure joy to me? Such boasting is a sort of gluttony, eating up joy twice: once in the performing of the task, and then again in seeking praise for doing so…

It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory. – Proverbs 25:27

Boasting is arrogant. It speaks only of love for self, and nothing for the love of others.

…love does not brag… – excerpt from 1 Corinthians 13:4

Our roles as women are nothing short of a gift from God. Let us joyfully and humbly accept His gifts without putting on airs.

For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? – 1 Corinthians 4:7

Show and (don’t) tell!

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

– Rabindranath Tagore

In conclusion…

I am resolved not to boast about myself, or my roles as a wife, mother, and homemaker. Why should I boast? After all, this is my job, and this is my joy! All of us ought to allow our deeds to speak for themselves, and kick the habit of self-praise, A.K.A. boasting, to the curb.

If you think you just don’t have it in you to abolish the habit of boasting altogether, then Scripture provides an alternative. You can amend your boasting to align with Jeremiah 9:23-24:

Thus says the Lord, “let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord. [emphasis added]

For the Christian, there is only one proper way to boast…and that is in and of our Maker. Of Him we may freely show and tell.

He who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends. – 2 Corinthians 10:15b-16

For God’s glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.