“Keep Your Friends Close…” (John 8:44)

“What? Really? He said that?”


I was speaking on the phone to a dermatology client with whom I had a professional relationship for over 15 years. Recently, the laboratory that was processing their tissue biopsies to produce their microscope slides had closed. I contacted another laboratory with whom we had a working relationship with two other dermatology clients. They happily agreed to speak to the dermatologist, eager to obtain a new account. The were so eager they aggressively attempted to steal the client away from me. Working within their lab was a rival dermatopathologist and they were using this opportunity to sell his credentials to my dermatology client. I learned of this when my client called me to complain about this predatory behavior.


“All they want to talk about is sending my cases to their dermatopathologist.” he shared with me on the conference call. “I told him that I am happy with you but they kept insisting. Finally I told them to stop calling and I would find another lab to process my biopsies.”


Angered by the betrayal of my presumed business associate, I bit my lip and with a measured voice replied, “Thank you for your loyalty to me! I will make sure we find an excellent tissue processing lab for you by next week.”


Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.


This quotation has been attributed to a variety of sources, including Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. However, it is probably most familiar as quoted by Michael Corleone in the movie, “The Godfather”. I naively trusted this laboratory while they were maneuvering to steal my clients.  After this revelation, I was proactive to monitor any hostile overtures this lab may take with my existing clients. The admonition is to know one’s enemy.


The Bible is replete with examples of betrayal. Adam betrayed Eve, diverting his responsibility of sinning against God and blaming her.  King David was betrayed by his son, Absalom. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was betrayed by Judas, one of His own disciples. The source of the betrayal? Satan. He goads and tempts us with sin.


…He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44 (ESV)


God is infinitely more powerful than Satan and Satan is keenly aware of this. Thus, he will do everything possible to convince us otherwise, even cloaking himself as a friend or trusted colleague. Satan is the enemy of God and of our souls. Know who your true enemy is. Always be wary of his schemes.


Greater is God within all believers than Satan who is in this world.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


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