An Injured Friend is the Bitterest of Foes

Have you ever been injured by a friend, someone you trusted, and they hurt you? Or, have you ever been the cause of injury to a friend? Sometimes these things happen, and regardless of what side you are on, it never feels good. Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying:

“An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.” – Thomas Jefferson

Clearly he had experienced such a falling out, and from this quote I would imagine that it did not work out well for him.It also is clear that his conclusion that an injured friend not only becomes a foe, but the bitterest of foes, is worldly wisdom and not Biblical. It is true that a hurt friend may be hard to win back:

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle. – Proverbs 18:19 NKJV

But, a true friend loves at all times, and the Bible teaches us the way to deal with such an injury. We are to address it promptly and with full intent to reconcile.

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him. – Luke 17:3-4

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. – Matthew 18:15

Yes, there are times when friends hurt each other, it does happen unfortunately. But with friends, and with the help of God, there is always a way back. Perhaps Jefferson’s friend turned foe was not a friend at all.


An Injured Friend is the Bitterest of Foes — 3 Comments

  1. It’s likely that Jefferson was indirectly speaking of Benedict Arnold, with whom he struggled during the days of the Revolution. While not necessarily chums before this, Arnold clearly changed his allegiance to Jefferson and all things “American” when he crossed over and led battalions that sought to kill Jefferson, even ordering the raid on Jefferson’s house, destroying his personal library, burning his effects and dragging off his slaves. I’d say that constitutes (pardon the word play) an unfaithful friend.

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