Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Steve Lyston | Hardship reveals fake friends

Published:Monday | March 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM

When individuals find themselves having power and are within a certain sphere of influence, they are surrounded by persons of a certain class or status. So, for example, where someone is a diplomat, they would be surrounded by politicians, the wealthy and they are able to socialise with a certain crowd and be invited to attend their parties and functions. Access and power can allow us to be surrounded by people and we tend to forget where we are coming from. The lesson we learn from Solomon (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20) is that we must remain humble, because the only thing of lasting value in this life is our relationship with God. How we treat others and the genuineness of our relationships with those closest to us, determine a lot for our future.

 

WHEN THINGS CHANGE

 

Wealth comes, wealth goes. Administrations come, administrations change. Power and influence come, and without warning, they can go; and when these things go, you will then know who your true friends are, and the fake ones will be exposed.

If, for example, you are the vice-president or executive in an organisation and you get fired suddenly or voted out, or adversity hits you so that you can no longer function in that capacity; you can no longer attend the functions, parties and rub shoulders with the who's who. Your cash is drying up and you're unable to pay dues/fees to maintain club/group membership. Maybe you previously made a huge investment and you have a mortgage on your house and all your finances are drying up. It is then that your fake friends are revealed as they no longer take your calls, invite you to their yacht, introduce you to the latest new business mogul on the block, and you are no longer on the 'okay list' of invitees. Instead of a direct connection, you now have to go through the secretary, who always tells you, "He or she is on the road right now. May I take a message?" Now embarrassment sets in, because you were a star yesterday and today you are nobody. So now, you are feeling like a failure - even suicidal - and you can't believe that the people who you thought were your friends would not even look at your rÈsumÈ or give you a call back.

Furthermore, even family members who would invite you over for dinner or call you for a favour or two, won't even give you the time of day.

Now, the people and the church that you rejected - those you scoffed at before because you were so focused on work and lifestyle and even thought were beneath you, and that the pastor was only after your money - now, they are the only ones who willingly reach out to you.

The very church or organisation you scoffed at before, that sought your help in the past for their church or charity and for the benefit the poor, are at the ready to come to your aid when you are down, despite the fact that while you were in power, you would fork out the last dollar to 'help' those fake friends who have now rejected you.

 

Use it as wisdom

 

Learn the lesson. Never allow your environment to influence your choice or be the determinant for choosing your friends or making decisions. Some people neglect their family and the people who genuinely love them, and have their best interest at heart, in exchange for fake friends. There are more fake friends in this world than fake news. The moment people believe that you can't do anything for them, they drop you like a hot potato. Know that despite what you see or think you know, people will surround you only for what they can get from you, and nothing more.

Even the suffering you are going through now is to birth something new in you and to open your eyes and your discernment. Hardship is an eye-opener for sure. Furthermore, your decision-making skills will be better and you will be a better leader for it. Sometimes fake friends blind us from seeing the true pictures and your true potential. While material things may disappear, you are mentally and emotionally stronger having gone through that.

I have asked many persons if they could live three months without getting a salary and still survive. You are now living that and you are still standing!

Recognise that hardship births mercy and compassion within you and gives you a broader perspective on life.

Never let money or power go to your head. Always remain humble.

- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.