1: Person who could be a friend or could be an enemy
2: Person who once was a friend but has become an enemy (Judas)
3: Person who masquerades as a friend but is in fact an enemy (Iago)
4: Person who once was an enemy but might be converting to a friend (Nicodemus)
An inherent risk of ministry is the frenemy. Jesus had to endure Judas, and Jesus got to experience the joy of Nicodemus’s change of heart. And we can expect to go through everything He went through. Moreover, discipling–the process of making disciples–runs the risk that those who you’re discipling will turn on you, whether the way Judas did or the way Peter did in denying Jesus at His point of greatest need. Both Judas and Peter betrayed Jesus. Both hurt Him.
On the other hand, disciples can become friends. In fact, that’s the intended outcome of discipling. Jesus said, “Once I called you servants, now I call you friends.” And later said, “You will do what I have done and more.” When He commissioned us, He co-missioned us: He brought His disciples alongside Him to partner with Him in His mission.
Frenemies don’t just occur in a discipling context. They can be found anywhere.
My take on the frenemy is this: go into relationship with your eyes open, calculating the cost of knowing you could pour your heart and life into someone only for them to turn against you. But believing–like Jesus did–that the cost and risk is worth it. And delighting with joy in those who become friends and co-laborers in Christ.
Loving people carries an inherent risk–they might not love you back. But Jesus takes that risk every day. And I’d like to be like Him in how I love and disciple others–even if (when!) it hurts. And in those instances, I want to be the kind of person who prays for my frenemy, just as Jesus did Peter, so that as a result Peter’s relationship with Him was restored. In those cases, I believe my frenemy will end up my friend rather than my enemy.