The Bible tells us to love our neighbor. (Matthew 22:39) But how does that translate into picking our friends? Knowing who we should spend time with? Who we should “hang out” with? Who should be our close companions? Our allies? Our associates? What does the Bible say about choosing our friends?
We should be careful about who we choose to be our friends. We should be sure we are not choosing to spend time with someone that will lead us astray. The people we spend time with should encourage us, help us, counsel us and love us. We should be able to learn from them. Pick up some good habits from them. Feel as though our life is better having them in it.
I think sometimes we allow ourselves to continue in a toxic friendship because we think we can be a positive influence on the other person. And in some cases that may be what happens. But if that’s not what’s happening, we must choose to part ways before we become ensnared. This doesn’t mean they become our enemy. We should continue to be kind to them and to pray for them, because as Christ followers that is what we are called to do. We just shouldn’t choose to spend time with them.
And just as important … we should be taking a close look at our own behavior. Are we the type of person that others should choose as a friend?
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26 NIV).
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. (Proverbs 13:20 NLT)
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV)
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. (Proverbs 22:24, 25 NIV)
My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! (Proverbs 1:10 NLT)
Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving. (Proverbs 4:14, 15 NLT)
Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? (Amos 3:3 NLT)