Choosing Our Friends Carefully

by Creflo Dollar | 6 Jun 2022

As human beings, we’ve been created to form relationships with others. As such, we all want to be liked and accepted. We feel better about ourselves when others respect us and seek out our company; however, sometimes that can work against us. Some people crave approval from others so much that they’re willing to do anything to get it; the danger is that associating with the wrong kinds of people increases the chances of us making bad decisions that can get us in trouble.

Anyone can be affected by hanging out with friends with bad attitudes. Spending time with the right people can help us keep a positive attitude. Spending time with the wrong ones can turn our optimism into pessimism. “Do not be misled: ‘bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).  Others’ mindsets are contagious, for good or bad, and can color our thinking.

Allowing others to influence our thought processes affects what we think and, eventually, what we do. We’ve all heard about individuals who seemed to have everything going for them, then fell in with the wrong crowd, made a bad decision, and suffered the consequences. Sometimes it’s hard to discern who we should avoid, and the pressure to fit in can make it worse. Without God guiding us in this area, we can easily make a mistake. One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother(Proverbs 18:24, NIV).

The Holy Spirit is that friend. He never makes mistakes judging others’ character, and He knows the intent of people’s hearts even when they don’t speak a word. He wants only the best for us and is always ready to steer us away from potential trouble, if we let Him. The key is listening to Him and paying attention to what He says. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul(Proverbs 22:24, 25).

It can be tempting to gravitate toward people who have toxic ways of thinking. When we feel drawn to them, listening to that still, clear voice inside keeps us on track. That voice is the Holy Spirit, Himself, living in us. This is one way God speaks to us to give us direction in forming relationships; He shows us the true friends who genuinely care for us and have our best interests at heart. 

Real friends are gifts from God, and He blesses us with them as one way of showing His love. They’re honest with us and we can be ourselves with them, knowing they’ll accept us even when we’re at our worst. When we make a mistake they point it out to us, but do it in love. These kind of relationships, in which we encourage and build each other up, are strong and healthy. “Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, AMPC).

Relying on our own judgment in this area can leave us open to making too many mistakes. However, trusting God to lead us to the right people, the ones who truly care for us in good times and bad, puts us in a win-win situation. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend(Proverbs 27:17, NLT). Friends sent from God keep us on the right path in life. Listening to Him in this area keeps us in the right company.