“The company you keep says a lot about you, because your friends have a major influence on how you feel, think, and behave. Friends influence your choices.” (Psychology Today)
The people with whom you and I spend our time have a huge impact on almost every area of our lives and let’s face it, with busy schedules we only have a limited amount of time to engage with friends anyway.
So, it’s extremely important to choose our closest friends wisely.
Have you ever had a friendship end and wondered, “What in the world was I thinking?”
Yep, me too.
I think most of us have had at least one “what was I thinking” relationship?
And a few of you may be thinking, “who am I kidding, I’m like a magnet for the wrong people.”
Whether your relationship is with a family member or friend, playing well with others isn’t always easy.
And the truth is . . . you and I aren’t perfect either. There are probably a few people out there trying to figure out how to get along with us. We all struggle with sin that shows itself as pride and selfishness and keeps us from treating people the way we should or even the way we want.
So, finding and maintaining healthy friendships takes wisdom.
If you’re like me you not only want, you need wisdom that will help you know the best ways to emotionally invest in your relationships.
Because it’s not easy knowing how to get along with the friend…
- who gossips.
- who doesn’t respect your boundaries.
- who has to make every decision.
- who lies.
- who is undependable.
Last week I wrote about how you and I can know if a friend is trustworthy.
But I want to make better choices at the beginning, don’t you?
That’s why I did some research, searched Scriptures, and looked back at past experiences to come up with my list of…
The Best Ways to Choose Friends and Protect Your Heart
“Friendship is a deep oneness that develops when two people, speaking the truth in love to one another, journey together to the same horizon.” ~Timothy Keller
1. Know How to Identify Godly Character Traits.
When you are with a new friend…
Pay attention to how they treat others – especially servers and sales associates.
Are they kind, respectful, helpful, and encouraging?
Are they honest and fair? Are they consistent?
Do they have integrity?
Keep your heart pure for out of it are the important things of life. Put false speaking away from you. Put bad talk far from you. Let your eyes look straight in front of you, and keep looking at what is in front of you. Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. Proverbs 4:23–26
2. Ask God to Show You Any Personal Weaknesses.
What are the things that make you a less than a godly friend? Pray. Ask God to open your eyes to ways you can be a better friend. Someone who blesses others.
When you are with friends…
Pay attention to how you are acting – do you adjust your values to fit in with the crowd?
Are you kind and caring to everyone – even someone who can’t repay you?
Can you disagree without being disagreeable?
Do you have integrity?
“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with every day need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.” ~Churck Swindoll
“A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults.” ~Charles Kingsley
3. Ask God to Help You Know How to Identify and Attract Safe Relationships.
Pray for courage to reach out to new people. Ask for wisdom when choosing your friends and planning your time with them.
It’s wonderful to have a lot of “hi and how are you” informal acquaintances with whom you get along well at work, church, or school. But it takes God’s wisdom to identify people you and I can trust enough to really be ourselves and grow close friendships.
So, look for people who get your quirks, and weird sense of humor. People who share your beliefs, values, and interests.
Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. Proverbs 18:24
“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” ~C.S Lewis
4. Ask God to Give You Patience and Forgiveness in Your Friendships.
Remember, we’re all imperfect. Your friends may disappoint you and you may upset them, but good friends are able to forgive each other and keep going.
Forgiveness is a building block of close friendships.
“Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous, or friendly… lead the way!” ~Steve Maraboli
“He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God.” ~Abraham Kuyper
5. Remember – Sometimes No Matter How Hard You Try a Friendship Won’t Work Out.
No matter how loving you are, you can’t make everyone love you. It’s just a hard fact of this imperfect life. And sometimes when we’ve been hurt it’s difficult to bravely go out there and try again. But there are a lot of people in this world. Look around potential friends are everywhere.
You and I have a perfect friend in Jesus. He is always and forever faithful and forgiving. And the best part – He has given us all we need to be His friend and friends with one another.
“This is my command: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.” ~Dwight L. Moody
“The dearest friend on earth is a mere shadow compared to Jesus Christ.” ~Oswald Chambers
So, my friend, with God’s help we can do this. We can bless our friendships with prayer and patience as we faithfully thank and praise God for creating us for love.
“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” John 13:34–35
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