TODAY’S ENCOURAGING WORD – 8/13/2014
Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, Proverbs 22:24, NLT
If I read this verse for what it is I would have no friends because I have a temper and I get angry. Just watch me when I get cut off in traffic or someone says something stupid. I would think most if not all of the world would be alone and friendless because we sure have a ton of angry people in the world. So I have to study more on this verse since it is one of those verses you have to really understand what it is saying and in what context.
I couldn’t understand why the Bible would tell us to stay away from these types of people until I read more on it and a few things stood out to me. I would think we should befriend them so we can be a good example and show love and kindness.
In proverbs “Good Friendships” are characterized by qualities, blessings that produce a positive result in our lives.
When we make friends with other people, we have tendency to become more like them. We let our guard down and see no harm in certain behaviors. I have seen this in my own life when it comes to friends and family. When we moved to St. George, I made a conscious decision to only have friends that are positive.
The reason I say this is that before we moved here and I worked at a truck stop, over time I didn’t see the harm in certain things. We would go out after work and usually it was a bar. Even though I wasn’t drinking a lot or doing cat calls to the guys, others were. Eventually it just became normal and I didn’t think nothing of it. I still didn’t do it, but I was finding it funny and would laugh right along with the others. I knew I needed to change this.
When the friendships are new, it’s easier to restrain ourselves, but over time it becomes an acceptable standard of behavior. For some reason we have it in our minds that we can change them, but that is far from the truth. We eventually become more like them.
We are known by the company we keep…
- 1 Corinthians 15.33 “Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionship’s (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.”
For example- I notice this with my niece. I love her in every sense and would give my life for her. She is like a daughter to me. When she is around certain people, she takes on their mannerisms. She talks like them, swears like them and even walks the same way. It’s as if she wants to be like them and accepted by them.
She is doing much better now and many of those friends that used her in the past are no longer in her life. Which I am incredibly happy about. They knew what to say and do to get her to do what they wanted her to do. They would break her spirit and didn’t care about her as a person. She is no different than anyone else. We all want to be loved and accepted. But and this is a big but. We need to keep ourselves in check. And we only need to allow those who have our best interest into our lives.
I know many people that are of all walks of life. I try not to judge them because of the choices they make or because they don’t believe in the same God I believe in. When I read this passage it spoke of truth.
- Psalms 106.35-36 – “Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs. They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall.”
When we become friends with someone who is toxic to us. These types of friendships can be deadly for us. Not just in the way we live but also spiritually. These types of friends don’t really care or love us. They are out for themselves and when the chips are down, they will book on ya.
- (Paul) 1 Corinthians 4:14-6:20 – ‘a great man who helps friends grow in their faith, by encouraging them and being bold enough to correct them.’
- (Jesus) Colossians 3:12-17… ‘Compassionate, encouraging, patient, loyal, understanding, loving’. To be a good friend, let us “clothe” ourselves with the things of God.
- (Jonathan) 1 Samuel 20:1-42 – who risks his life for a friend. He helped save his friend, David’s life when he heard that his father King Saul wanted to kill him. He told David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it for you.”‘
- (Ruth) Ruth 1:1-22 – ‘who is loyal even when in times of difficulty. When Naomi told Ruth to stay behind, Ruth said these words, “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay”.’
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Here are some verses that describe a toxic friend…
Matthew 26:15-17, 25
Luke 22:47-48 who acts like a friend but puts his own self-interests above everything else.
- 2 Samuel 15:12-17:23
(Ahithopel) King David’s betrayer, he befriends an enemy who wanted to overthrow the kingdom. He was also ‘David’s trusted counselor, but he gives lousy advice and spread rumors about the king’.
In closing, I just want to say that we should be careful who we associate with, even if they are family. I have had a hard time with this most of my life. When I keep focused on God I do much better when weeding out those who cause havoc and chaos in my life. If I notice that I have become more bitter or on edge, I ask myself why I am that way and what has changed. And usually it is because I let my guard down and allowed the wrong people in my life. I allow them to influence me instead of God influencing me. I am a work in progress.
When we think about real friendships Proverbs 18:24 sums it up pretty good. There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Real friends bring a consistency into our lives that we come to know and depend upon.
We all should be wanting to build better friendships, providing the kind of positive influence that will help people learn more about Christ.