We are living in a day and a time where the word friend has become so watered down and deluged that I believe it is losing much of its original meaning. We have a tendency to refer to almost everyone we casually encounter as our friend. So how do we find out if the people we associate with are true friends? Here are three characteristics of the wrong friends.
1. The wrong friends are never there when you need them. I have found out over the years that casual acquaintances do not make any special effort to be there for you. They expect you to be the one to call or text them. They expect you to be the one to come visit them. However, they have no intentions of being inconvenienced for you. Fake friends and casual acquaintances will leave you high and dry during the tough times in your life. This is why Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 warns us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return on their work: (10) If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” We all need real friends in our life that will be there for us when we need a helping hand.
2. The wrong friends make the situation worse not better. If and when a casual acquaintance finally shows up to check on you, their actions and attitude oftentimes makes matters worse. When you are going through the perplexities of life, the last thing you need are people hanging around that do nothing but drain, deplete, and/or stress you out. When Job was going through the most difficult moment of his life, three of his friends came to try and comfort him. But they made Job feel worse, not better. Listen to Job’s response to his friends in Job 16:2, “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all.” When you don’t know what to say to a person in crisis, silence is your best option.
3. The wrong friends are jealous of your blessings. A true friend will never stand in the way of God blessing you. They will be happy about all of your accomplishments. They will cheer you along your journey to success. A true friend will encourage you to maximize your God given potential. They will speak well of you, even when you are not around. But, a fake friend will never truly be happy for your success. This is why the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “…love does not envy…” In other words, a person who truly loves you would never be jealous of the things you have or the things you have accomplished.
I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing your friends wisely. The people you choose to voluntarily hang around will influence the direction of your life. In the long run, they will prove to be a tremendous help or an appalling hindrance. I leave you with these final words of wisdom recorded in Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”