Friendship is one of the best gifts from God. Once you have found genuine friends who will stick with you through thick and thin, you are blessed. Having them in your support system will help you become a better person in the long run.
However, not all friends are good and must be kept. Bad friends will make you a bad person. They will influence you negatively. Moreover, they will keep you from getting closer to your dreams since they will keep you distracted.
So, how will you know if your friend needs to go? How can you say that God is telling you to end a friendship? You can check out the following signs:
1. The Friendship is Bringing You Temptations.
If that friendship tempts you to do things against morality and your conscience, then it is not worth keeping.
For instance, if you are a married person and your friend encourages you to flirt with someone else for fun, it is a sign. Or you have probably struggled with substance usage before, and you do not want to be back at it. So the friend who would tell you to have a cheat day once in a while is not good company.
2. The Friendship is Causing You to Sin.
Temptation is terrible enough, but if your friend can successfully influence you to sin, then you have to let go. If you have committed to living a life pleasing before God, then you must consciously avoid sinning. You must stay away from temptations and get rid of anything or anyone who can cause you to fail. In short, if you know that the devil is using your friend to lead you to sin, you must cut that friendship off for the sake of your own soul.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
3. The Friendship is Giving You Stress More Often Than Not.
You can say that a friendship is not from the Lord if it does not bless you at all. If your friend is only giving you headaches, maybe it is time to distance yourself from that person. It is not suitable for mental and emotional health, thus making it hard to be productive.
How can you say if a friendship is keeping you stressed? If you and your friend keep arguing about things, then it is one. Another is constant criticism that makes the friendship toxic. Or that friend probably does not respect your privacy anymore, invading your space and taking your stuff without your permission.
4. The Friendship Distracts You from Your Goals.
God wants you to be productive. He wants you to pursue your purpose on earth, and the dreams or goals in your heart are part of that purpose. However, the wrong kind of friendship will keep you away from your destination. How?
Bad friends will keep you busy with fun and things that are not related to your goals. For example, they will tell you it is okay to enjoy once in a while, only to realize that you have been wasting so much time already. Or they can also influence you to pursue other directions which seem more interesting.
5. The Friendship is Focused on Benefiting the Other Person.
God does not want you to be taken advantage of by other people. Although He encourages kindness and goes the extra mile to help, He does not want anyone misusing you.
So, if you can feel that your so-called friend is only using you for their own benefits, it is a sign to consider. What are the proofs? They could be nice to you whenever they need your help. However, if you need someone to run to, they are nowhere to be found.
6. The Friendship is Ruining Your Other Relationships.
If you have been in conflict with your family, partner, or other friends because of that certain friend, you should start thinking. There could be something about your friendship that bothers the other people in your life. Probably, they think of that individual as a bad influence on you. Or maybe they can sense that the person is turning you against them.
God wants you to take care of your other relationships as well. He wants you to be a good testimony to your loved ones. If people around you cannot see Christlikeness in you because of your other friend, then the Lord is surely not in favor of that friendship too. Jesus wants His followers to be peacemakers, so you should get along with other people.
Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
7. The Friendship Has Hurt You or Broken Your Trust Many Times.
Even your own family would not want you to stay friends with someone who has betrayed or hurt you several times. Likewise, God, your Father in heaven, does not want you to be friends with someone who would only cause you harm.
Therefore, if you know that you cannot trust your friend anymore, be honest. Do not force yourself to stick to the person. Instead, you should start keeping distance between the two of you to protect yourself from another blow in the future.
8. The Friendship is Not Something You Can Rely on in Times of Needs.
As mentioned in no. 5, God does not want you to be misused or taken advantage of by other people. So, if your so-called friend is always available for hangouts but never to help you, the Lord probably wants you to end the friendship. A true friend is not only there for fun and good times. They are the ones who will pick you up whenever you are down.
It says in Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
9. The Friendship Tolerates Your Negative Behaviors.
Good friends should help you become better. On the other hand, bad friends will tolerate your wrong actions. For instance, if you were cheating on exams, they would even give you tips on doing it better. Or they would justify your decision to date someone married or leave your partner for someone more attractive.
The Lord does not want you to have this kind of friend. If you have one, please know that you will be better off without that person.
10. The Friendship Corrupts Your Character.
Related to no. 9, bad friends will corrupt your character. They will influence you to disregard integrity and even your commitment to God. If you want to be Christlike, then you should surround yourself with mature Christians. You must avoid ungodly influence in your life.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
11. The Friendship is Influencing You Away from God.
Overall, God does not want you to be friends with someone who will keep you away from Him. As His child, He wants you to be covered by His blessings and protection. If you do things contrary to His will, you are stepping out of His presence. Thus, expect that you will be reaping the consequences of your sinful choices.
If your friend discourages you from believing in God and obeying His Word, then that is your red flag. Choose God now.
Look for Better Friends
If you want to find good friends who will draw you closer to God, you can start looking within your spiritual family. On Sundays, do not go home immediately after the service. Instead, find time to mingle with people your age. You can also attend a life group with genuine friends who encourage you to follow God.
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