With the holidays quickly approaching, it seems as though time is slipping away faster than ever. Time is a precious gift, and who we share it with will have a significant impact on our lives. As we find time to meet with friends and develop meaningful relationships, it has caused me to evaluate the friendships I have had throughout the years. Which friendships were beneficial, and which hindered my growth? A few Scriptures stood out to me as I thought about this concept.
#1. «Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.» Proverbs 13:20
When I look at my friendships, I hope to find that I am surrounding myself with people who are yearning to grow in their faith. If the people around me are chasing after Christ, they will be better equipped to support me in doing the same. I want to trust the guidance of those who I am frequently around. If you find that the people in your life do not offer wisdom that is rooted in the truth of the Scriptures, you are missing out on a key element to a supportive friendship.
#2. «Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.» 1 Thessalonians 5:11
When you leave your friends, do you feel as though your energy is drained, or that you have been rejuvenated? Do your friends speak life into you, encouraging you when you are going through struggles? I have seen both sides to this scenario. A draining friendship slowly weighs on you over time. Having people in your life that encourage you can significantly impact your outlook on life.
#3. «A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.» Proverbs 11:13
How do your friends speak about others? Do they jump at the chance to participate in gossip? Do they slander others? When we are around gossipers, it is nearly impossible to refrain from participating ourselves. If you begin to notice a trend of gossiping in your friend, it may be time to evaluate their influence in your life.
Overall, I believe that Christ has put different people in our lives for different «seasons» and «reasons.» Maybe your friendship was appointed for a certain time in your life, but you have both grown in different directions. It could be that there are some friends who need someone who is a mature believer to help guide them as more of a mentor relationship, or vice versa. As I seek out friendships that are helping me to grow in my faith, I also pray that I am working to become the type of friend that someone would desire to have.