Discerning Unhealthy Friendships (Part One)

We are called to be in community but not every relationship is healthy for us. Friendships can either add to our lives or subtract. While we are called to love and respect everyone; our close personal friendships are those that we should be wise about because “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Over the next two weeks we are going to take a look at this topic in both our Treasured Devotions blog and our Facebook Live on Wednesday. Paying attention to the close company we keep has an impact on the course of our life.

Who we spend our time with matters.

In the past, I’ve struggled with setting boundaries. Sometimes it was hard to discern what is healthy and what is not because of outside appearances. Sometimes, especially inside of the church, I felt very guilty about setting boundaries. But here is what I’ve learned, the Bible encourages us to be discerning with our close associates.

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20

So how do you walk wise and discern those divine connection in your life?  The way to be wise about those with whom you walk closely is by walking closest to the Holy Spirit.

When I am walking closely with the Holy Spirit I can trust his discernment for my close connections.

Pay Attention to the Holy Spirit’s Caution about Unhealthy Friendships

Have you ever been around a person and the Holy Spirit is giving you a caution? Pay attention to it!

Jesus is the gatekeeper of our heart, opening and closing doors. We may never know the reasons for the check in our spirit. It could be that WE are not ready for this friendship for whatever reason. But the reason we can know: Jesus knows and we can trust His discernment for divine connections in every season in our lives (John 2:24-25).

In the past, I was very confused about love and trust because I saw them as the same. But, they are different. Love is unconditional for all people. However, trust from people must be earned. Never rush intimacy in friendship or any other relationship.

The only person that we can give our automatic complete trust to is God Himself. And as we learned last week, our Good Shepherd will lead us to good healthy friendships we can trust, when we walk closely with the Holy Spirit in prayer.

Also, When I walk closest with the Holy Spirit, I will be a woman of decision confidently directed by the Lord not vulnerable to the control of others.

Gain Confidence in Walking with the Holy Spirit

Inside of the church today we have people that are “religious” only on the outside. (Acts 20:29, Matthew 7:15, Jude 12-16). They look like innocent “sheep”, but inside, they have ulterior motives.  Often their motive is to have control over you to gain a following for themselves. They look for weaknesses in your soul to capitalize on and gain control. In 2 Timothy 3:5-7 from The Message translation, describes these types of people:

“They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they are animals. Stay clear of these people. These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of the unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself ‘truth.’ They get exploited every time and never really learn.”

If you are NOT a woman of decision, you could be unstable and a target to somebody unhealthy having influence over you.  If you often call 50 people to ask for their input in your decisions, this may indicate that you don’t complete confidence in the Lord’s leading in your life and vulnerable to the control of others.

However, when you are confident in God’s still small voice, you won’t be influenced by every whim of teaching.

If you are a people pleaser, own that, turn a new direction and gain confidence to make your own decisions apart from people. You and I can walk with the assurance that the Holy Spirit leads us, guides us, and guards us. (Next week we’ll continue this discussion with two more ways walking closest with the Holy Spirit allows us to walk WISE!)

Want to leave indecision and people pleasing? The Nourish Bible Study Method can help you discern truth for your life through God’s Word so you can live with confidence in God’s direction not under the control of others. Take our 21-Day Challenge and become a woman of decision so you can be all God created you to be!

Nourish Scripture:  Joshua 9

Blog written by Aliene Thompson. Aliene Thompson is the founder of Treasured Ministries and the Author of the Nourish Bible Study Series. © 2019 Treasured Ministries.