I’ve had to realize I have caused considerable stress in my life by not choosing my friends wisely…biblically.
As a Christian I have been taught by many godly people to take inventory of my life from time to time. It was suggested to me thirty years ago that I do so every month on the same day of the month (which helps me not to forget to do so). It has been a valuable practice to keep my spiritual life, priorities and my home in order.
A few months ago God added a segment of my life that I have not seen the need to take inventory of…my friends. By not doing so I had made my life more difficult and stressful because I had let people negatively affect me in various ways. It was a tough truth to come to grips with. Actually, I’m still working on implementing it.
How important is it to choose good friends who would lift us up and make us better people? The Bible tells us we get to decide whether we’ll walk with the wise or stumble with fools. The question for us is which will we choose?
Proverbs 13:20: ” He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools [stupid or silly] shall be destroyed [to mar, especially by breaking].” [Words defined from the Strong’s Concordance.]
I have had to spend some considerable time with the Lord to understand my responsibility for the stress I have allowed people to add to my life by not setting boundaries. It has, and continues to be a tough lesson…to realize the wrong people in my life can actually mar me and even break me.
When I talked to my husband about this he pointed out that I am frazzled and a tad grumpy after I’m around, or have had a phone conversation with, ___________. I knew he was right. This is partly true because I kick myself for not being better able to stop people from griping and complaining. I often try to justify this by feeling I am helping them ‘download’…by being a sounding board…which I felt helped them. I cannot begin to convey how God has talked to me about this…me who, as a counselor, tells women all of the time they must do all they can to guard their spirit. I haven’t implemented my own counsel.
“What impact have your friends had on you lately? This might sound like a strange question, but your friends have influenced you—for better or for worse—more than you think. Does it really matter which friends you select? After all, shouldn’t a Christian be willing to have anyone around as a friend?
Some argue that Christians should invite everyone into their circle of friends since Jesus Christ was inclusive during His earthly ministry. This belief seems appealing on its surface, but there is more to the issue than meets the eye.” Jason Ranew
The book of Proverbs is full of instructions concerning how we can do well and become Biblically successful, including instructions on how we should choose our friends. Again, Proverbs 13:20 instructs us that to befriend foolish people will bring harm to our lives. On the other hand, seeking out wise friends who live right will bring about blessings.
Proverbs 1:10-16 and Psalms 1:1-3 provides a strong warning against befriending those who engage in sinful lifestyles and are not right with God…including scornful/negative people. We are not even to walk on their paths but rather turn away from them and walk the other way. And for doing so God says He will bless us.
Psalms, 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The apostle Paul affirms: “Be not deceived: evil [worthless, depraved, noisome, evil] communications [companionship] corrupt [shrivel or wither, destroy] good manners [moral habits].” I Corinthians 15:33 In paraphrase: Don’t fool yourself, bad or negative and worldly-minded Christian friends will destroy you. [Words defined from the Strong’s Concordance.]
These scriptures and others indicate that in order to do well, be happy and obey God, we must choose good, principled friends and avoid negative, scornful/negative and immoral people.
Jesus’ example: One should note that even among His disciples, not everyone was included in Jesus’ inner circle, which was inclusive of Peter, James and John. Jesus is unique in that His potential was not determined by His friends. Even so, He set a clear example for us to follow in that He had an inner circle of trusted friends and He was careful about whom He included.
Do our friends sharpen us as iron sharpeneth iron…or do they dull our ‘blade’ and cause us to be less effective instruments for God’s will?
— Sharon Merhalski