Ever since I could remember and likely long before that, it has been said that you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. This saying has evolved with the years, everyone adding something, tweaking it a bit, but the gist of it is if you can make a composite of a man’s friends, tease out some common character traits and practices, then you have a somewhat accurate snapshot of who the man is.
I believe it is exceedingly easier to understand a man and his character by the enemies he has made, than by the friends in his orbit at the time of your inquiry. Friendship is subjective. Someone might call themselves your best friend, and you see them as an acquaintance at best. Other people met you once, then if your name is of any prominence or note, will endlessly drone on how they spend winters in your chalet, and summers at the vineyards. Shocking, I know, but some people orbit other people to benefit from their influence or exploit their relationship.
Even if someone is your friend, are the just fair-weather friends, or something more, deeper, and lasting? Will they turn tail and run at the first sign that your fortunes are shifting, or will they strap on their sword and stand shoulder to shoulder to you against overwhelming odds? Can you count on them in difficulty, or are you only assured of their presence when the steaks are sizzling, and merriment is guaranteed?
The thing about your enemies is that they can’t help themselves. They wear their animosity like a mask, a shroud, an unmistakable telltale sign that bubbles to the surface and begins to consume reason itself. I’m less concerned about who loves you than I am about who hates you. Who hates you gives me far more information than discovering who loves you ever will.
If someone dislikes you or outright hates you, they will make sure everybody knows it. There is no ambiguity as to whether they might dislike you or not, as there can be with whether someone is your friend or not. Your enemies will go out of their way to set themselves apart and identify themselves as such.
Being the level headed man that I am, not one to jump to conclusions or proclaim something as irrevocably true before all the evidence is in, I’ve taken to keeping a watchful eye on who the enemies of certain individuals are, and the first question I ask myself is am I willing to align myself with that particular lot.
If I recoil at the thought of aligning myself with the enemies of someone I’m dubious about, the fact that his enemies would likely be my enemies too given a chance tends to tip the scales toward my giving the individual the benefit of the doubt.
If those you would inadvertently be aligning yourself with make your stomach churn, if their actions and positions are ghoulish and soulless and in diametrical opposition to what you believe, if even thinking of being in their camp makes you want to take a hot shower, then maybe the person you think you hate, or want to hate, or are told to hate, isn’t as vile and evil as you think he is, or they make him out to be.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.