Friendships are important. We were created to be social and interact with others. This was God’s design from the beginning of time and we see this truth reflected throughout scripture. However, just because a relationship is fun, entertaining, exciting or even enjoyable, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. We can have dangerous friends. Let’s agree that this can be a true statement. If this is the case, why do we invite people into our lives that are bad for us? We give them our cell phone numbers and text them daily. We’ll spend hours communicating via inbox, DM or messenger and if we were to be completely honest – we’re talking about nothing valuable or meaningful. So why do we have these dangerous friends so deeply interwoven into our lives? I believe many times we have just minimized their obvious danger in exchange for something we’ve given value to such as attention, companionship or the desire to “fit in.” So how can we recognize relationships that are not good for us and what should we do about them? Here are a few things that are important to note.
I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” This verse describes the result of incorporating dangerous friends into our lives. Your character will pay the ultimate price. The word corrupt means unprincipled. The point Paul makes here is clear. When we regularly engage with people who are unprincipled or at least don’t share our Christian principles, we run the risk of mimicking their ungodly behaviors. Their complaints become our complaints, and soon, the words we used to encourage others quickly become words of criticism. Before too long, the Christian standards of integrity, purity and kindness that once governed our lives have been exchanged for self-centeredness and pride. What has happened? Our dangerous friends have corrupted our character and we didn’t recognize what was happening.
What should we do if we recognize we are in this situation? First, understand just because you had history with someone doesn’t obligate you to have a future with them. Amos 3:3 (NLT) presents an insightful question on this subject, “How can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” Reaching your goal or destination, without agreeing on the direction, is impossible. Attempting this will waste time and cause extreme frustration. In order to walk with someone, you must share values and principles. If you are a Christian, those values should be rooted in God’s word.
I feel it necessary to add this small caveat. If you are married and are having a difficult season in your marriage, this blog is not your “get out of jail free card.” Your marriage covenant before God should not be taken lightly. If necessary, be prayerful and pursue good biblical counsel to find the help you may need to heal your marriage. Oftentimes, we need to protect our marriages from dangerous friends. Be prayerful about your friends and those you associate with regularly. Making adjustments now could save you a lifetime of pain and difficulty.
Relationships are great and God initiated. Use them to make wonderful memories, enjoy true happiness and bring glory to our Father. I’m praying that God’s wisdom guides you and He grants you courage as you pursue His design for healthy and safe relationships.