Why Friendships Can Make or Break You

“It’s almost impossible to live the right life if you have the wrong friends.”

Those were words I heard recently from Craig Groeschel, a pastor in Oklahoma, who was discussing the importance of friendships. His words got me to thinking, and a few of those thoughts I want to share with you.

First, before we walk too far down the friendship path, I want to be honest—I don’t have many close friends. There are a lot of great individuals in my life that I consider friends, but very few who know me well.

It’s easy to get down when you look around and think, There’s no community around here! But recently I started thinking . . . perhaps the Lord hasn’t surrounded me with friends for a reason. I can know from His Word that He wants me to rely fully on Him and grow in a deeper and more satisfying relationship with Him. Let’s face it, as much as I love friends, they can distract us from our number one friendship: Jesus. The first and most important friendship lesson we can learn is that no friend is a good substitute for Him.

Psalm 25:14 makes a bold promise:

The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.

Now that we’ve got that settled, consider this: The friends who surround us are the individuals who shape us. Show me your friends, and I’ll show you where you’re headed in the future. That’s a great thought and a terrifying thought.

The friends who surround us are the individuals who shape us.

Surround yourself with friends who are wise, hard-working, love the Lord, and are pursuing him wholeheartedly, and I bet you’re right there with them. But if you’re surrounded by friends who are irresponsible and apathetic about the Lord, WATCH OUT.

When I was in my early teens, there were some friends I had who really didn’t love Jesus and it showed in their lives. When I look back at that time in my life, I can now see that I was slowly but surely becoming like them. It’s a known fact that you become like those you spend time with. So guard your friendships.

With all the above in mind, let’s dive into Scripture and see what the Bible has to say regarding friendships.

Bad friends will drag you down.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33).

I know we were just talking about this, but it warrants a second mention. Hang out with bad company, and you’ll find yourself on the same path they’re on.

A good friend thinks about how you’re doing. Really.

All too often someone will ask me how I am, and my reply is the typical, “Great, how are you?” While I feel so blessed to have another day to live and am surrounded by a loving family, are we all really doing “great” all the time? Hebrews tells us to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (10:24–25).

A true friend encourages and is concerned for your well-being, so tell them how you really are.

A real friend isn’t afraid to offend you for the right reason.

Proverbs 27:6 reminds us that “faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” A real friend should be more concerned about challenging you spiritually and making sure you’re right with the Lord and with loved ones than they are about making sure they don’t offend you (and doing all this in a God-honoring way; I’m not talking about going into jerk mode here).

If you want to be wise, choose wise friends.

You may think I’ve said this so many times that you’re going to hear it in your dreams. Good! That’s my goal. I want you to get this into your head. It’s incredibly important. Don’t take my word for it; here’s one of my favorite verses in Proverbs for you:

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (13:20).

As you analyze your friendships, pray that you would develop the qualities I’ve mentioned above so that you can be a good friend to those around you. Don’t automatically dump friends—your love for the Lord demonstrated to them might help them realize they’re missing something. However, spend more time with those who build you up and are heading in the same direction as you are than with those who are going in an opposite direction.

Our friends can make us or they can break us. So choose wisely.

And if you’re like me and sometimes feel like “I have no friends,” perhaps it’s the Lord giving you an opportunity to draw closer to Him. Be proactive in creating a community of like-minded friends around you! Our friends can make us or they can break us. So choose wisely.

In your search for quality friendships, what are a few characteristics you look for in a good friend?

In what ways can you be proactive in creating a community of like-minded friends around you? Share some ideas in the comments section, and you might give someone else an idea or two!

About Author

Beecher Proch

Beecher Proch calls the Hill Country of Texas home. When he’s not writing, performing with his three siblings in their band, or attempting to get a smile out of someone, you’ll probably find him working on a new entrepreneurial venture. Beecher is passionate about influencing the world for Christ’s Kingdom through stories, be that blogging, writing meaningful music, or going about it the old-fashioned way and taking a pen to the page.

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  • Rose

    I love this! I have a few select people in my life who I would call a friend because they have proved over time that they will be their for me and they encourage me and rebuke me when it is needed. I also ask them how they are doing and am a type of person people open to.

    • Salo

      Awesome! 🙂

    • Beecher

      Love it! Thanks for sharing Rose!

  • Thalia

    Love this post! <3 It really speaks to my heart because in my school I only have worldly friends, according to that all the worldly influence in my life feels so overwhelming! Often times I find myself doing and thinking things that aren't pleasing to the Lord. Thank you for the things that you said about friendship with Him. It really opened my eyes. Awesome post!

    • Beecher

      Thanks for sharing Thalia! I totally understand the overwhelmed part – one thing that helps me when I feel like the world is closing in is to dig into the Bible, even more so than I would do usually. Get your strength from Him, and be an encouragement and light to your friends at school. I’m going to challenge YOU to set the example for godly living, no matter how old or young the people around you are! 🙂

  • ~The_Tactician~

    This was very helpful for me to read today. I’ve been having some serious friend problems recently and have been having to rethink some things. It’s been very hard for me. I have three friends who call me their best friend but I feel like I have to walk around on egg shells around them, then I have a friend who I truly consider a sister, yet my three other friends don’t like her and feel like I’m betraying them when I hang out with her, AND then I have this guy friend (who I liked for a while) who has been talking to me about his relationship woes and how he’s going to do something over the summer that I don’t think his parents know about…..*sighs* my friendships are so complicated and stressful. I just hope I can get things worked out.

    • Beecher

      Oh man. I’ll pray for your friend situations! Smile and keep pointing them to Jesus – they may just look back one day and thank you for being the tool the Lord used to change their lives!

    • potat

      Ooh! That’s similar to my situation. Two of my three main friends get angered easily and I low-key have a crush on one of them (he’s the only guy friend in my main friend group). It’s pretty hard to keep people peaceful.

  • Movar

    This article came at the right time in my life, thanks a lot, May God be my best friend in every area of my life.

    • Beecher

      Amen Movar! Glad you liked it! Thanks for taking the time to read and share. 🙂

  • Charis

    Thanks so much for this article! It’s something that’s really close to my heart and sometimes the loneliness really weighs on me and the confusion of what to do when friends look to me…

    • Beecher

      Hey Charis! You got this – especially since you’ve got the light of Jesus shining through you to your friends! Stay in the Word – it’s such a huge encouragement.
      🙂

  • Melissa L

    Wow you made a lot of good points. Thank you very much for these insightful words.

  • Tati

    Thank you so much for this post Beecher! 🙂 I don’t many close friends, actually no friends in this season I’m in and this post really had me pondering on how I should be growing in a deeper relationship with the Lord and relying more on the Him. In high school, I too, have had friendships that weren’t really serious and encouraging me to pursue Jesus wholeheartedly. Thankfully, the Lord revealed that to me in my later high school years that caused me changed my route and purpose in life, since I really want to really know Him seriously. I might have hurt some of my friends in the process of this, and this ultimately left me being abandoned and ditched by my friends.
    I’m not happy of how I handled the situation of slowly leaving my friends and like what you said, “your love for the Lord demonstrated to them might help them realize they’re missing something.” I regret that I missed out on a great opportunity to share light/gospel of Jesus to them. Can ya’ll pray for me to forgive myself, and for Him to help remove the bitterness and resentment that I’ve been harboring in my heart?

    • Beecher

      Absolutely we’ll pray for you Tati! One reminder – you may not be able to change the past, but you CAN change the future! Meaning that from now on you get new opportunities to be a light for Jesus to the world around you, even though you may have missed out in the past (trust me, I’ve been right where you are – you’re not alone!). So grab some encouraging Bible verses like Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, and Isaiah 41:10 and move ahead, learning from the past but not dragging that guilt along with you! 🙂 Thanks for your comment.
      Beecher

      • Tati

        Thanks for the reminder tip Beecher and for ya’ll praying for me! Future-focused, thanks! 🙂 Really appreiciate all you and the LYWB team team do to teach and encourage young women to chase after Jesus and live out the gospel.

  • Tasha

    “In what ways can you be proactive in creating a community of like-minded friends around you?”

    I don’t know how to answer this question. Please I need help. My group of friends started out very well, all focused on God and on keeping each other “in check”. Very God-centered. But lately it’s been a mess. It’s ridiculous. We’re all in our early 20’s but we’re acting as if we’re in middle school. People ignoring each other, not facing people when they make mistakes or bad decisions that hurt others. People not wanting to listen and apologize and forgive. We’re so far from where we started.

    Me and about 2 other girls are trying to get us back on track by pointing back to God, sharing verses and devotionals. But I don’t know if that’s enough. Help please.

    • Take a look at this paragraph from Beecher’s article: “Proverbs 27:6 reminds us that “faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” A real friend should be more concerned about challenging you spiritually and making sure you’re right with the Lord and with loved ones than they are about making sure they don’t offend you (and doing all this in a God-honoring way; I’m not talking about going into jerk mode here).”

      It sounds as if this is exactly what your group needs to hear and focus on. But let us caution you to speak to the group humbly. Go to the Lord and make sure your heart is right with Him and your heart motive is right with your friends. Then humbly approach them and share your observations.

      “It seems like we are drifting away from God and each other. I know our hearts are not to do this, but I sense that we need to come together, pray and seek the Lord together to see how He would have us respond to each other and Him. Would you come to my place and join me in praying for each other.”

      Cover it in prayer between you and the two other friends and then go forward as He directs. We are praying for you, too!