Towards both God and others, at times we’re like Peter, at other times like Paul, sometimes we’re like John and even other times we’re like (doubting) Thomas. But what worries me the most is when we’re like Judas. Because when we’re like Judas, we often act as a frenemy.
Frenemies. We all have them. Sometimes, we are one.
What’s a frenemy? A frenemy (pronounced fren-uh-mee) is a blend of friend and enemy. It is a person or a group of people that are friendly towards someone because connections with that someone brings a benefit or fulfill a need, but that person or group of people also have feelings of resentment or rivalry towards that same person. Another, more common dictionary definition is someone who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy.*
I’ve always thought that Judas got a bad reputation. No, he definitely wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think that he intended to be a frenemy to Christ all the time either. And in the end, he did want to seek forgiveness from Christ for how he treated him, he just didn’t quite know how. Yet Judas he did have traits that are pretty common in frenemies that are carried throughout the New Testament when we hear Judas’ name:
- Judas believed he knew better than others how things were to be done and sought to get his way. (He turned Jesus into the authorities to try and get him to be someone he wasn’t called to be in the redemption of mankind).
- Judas acted selfishly. (He turned Jesus in not just to try to get Jesus to act differently, but for money).
- Judas was competitive and possessive. (The Apostles were like family and definitely didn’t always get along, but Judas put others down- John 12:4-6)
- Judas had a sense of extreme self-importance. (This is reflected in many of his actions mentioned here, but especially believing he knew better than Christ).
Are we a Catholic frenemy like Judas? Is it intentional, or unintentional? We know that living out our Catholic faith is not easy, and we all have bad days. But it’s when we catch ourselves being a frenemy to someone, or encounter someone being a frenemy to us, we can have some major problems.
As St. Josemaria Escriva said, “There are many people around you, and you have no right to be an obstacle to their spiritual good, to their eternal happiness. You are under an obligation to be a saint. You must not let God down for having chosen you. Neither must you let those around you down: they expect so much from your Christian life.”
I don’t know if many people intend to be frenemies. I know that if I am to others, it’s certainly not intentional. But I do think that often people end up as frenemies because they are harboring anger, resentment, un-forgiveness, carrying around sin or something else with their heart that makes acting with love and charity towards another difficult.
What do you think?