#InternationalFriendshipDay: 5 qualities to look for in friends

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By EEW Magazine

I called her my “crazy friend” because she had no filter, would always tell it like it is and believed in living for today only.

In times when I was having difficulty or needed to share a mistake with someone I knew wouldn’t judge me, I went to her.

Despite its comforts, however, our relationship wasn’t healthy.

My friend, whom we’ll just call Jennifer, wasn’t saved and had no intentions of changing her wild ways. So anything I did that was out of line, unlike my Christian friends, Jennifer would dismiss.

One Sunday, my pastor was preaching about our influences and how they impact our walk of faith. Though I hadn’t given it nearly enough thought before that moment, he hit on several points that made me reevaluate my relationship with Jennifer.

The more I prayed and searched Scripture, I recognized that relationship wasn’t a healthy one. It kept me stagnant and complacent with things that were against God’s will for me.

Nowadays, Jennifer and I still speak occasionally, but we aren’t as close as we were five years ago. She is no longer an influence in my life.

Since, by God’s grace, I have grown in my wisdom and understanding of the word of God, I am careful of the people I allow in my close circle. Everyone isn't qualified to offer me advice, speak into my life and enter my heart.

Those who we trust have a great deal of impact on us, for better or worse, so choosing friends wisely is critical.

Here are 5 qualities I look for in close friends who are inside my intimate network of confidantes that influence my decision-making.

1. They must have a personal relationship with Christ. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, the Apostle Paul said, “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”

With all my close friends, whether consciously or subconsciously, I think and behave like them on some level. They influence my attitudes and actions, which is why I have to be careful. I don’t want to end up imitating patterns of behavior that go against God’s will because of undue influence of an unbeliever.

2. They must give wise counsel. Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

When I go to my friend for advice, if they don’t have a relationship with God, they cannot offer me any wisdom. Although, as a woman, I don’t run and dump all my problems on friends, still, there are times when I need a listening ear. In those moments, it’s important that any suggestions be consistent with scriptural principles.

3. They must have discretion. Proverbs 20:19 says, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.”

I don’t get too tight with people who have loose lips. If they tell other people’s business, they’ll tell mine. So it is a rule that they exercise discretion and not be guilty of running their mouths all the time. Betrayers of confidence are dangerous!

4. They must be honest with me, even when it hurts. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

Though none of us likes to hear the cold, hard truth all the time, it’s important that friends are honest. Despite my best intentions, I’m not always right. I get off course and miss the mark.

Having a lovingly honest person to make me accountable and get me back on track is crucial. I want friends who are unafraid to keep it 100% real with me.

5. They have to be secure. James 3:16 says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

If a person is not secure in themselves, it is hard for them celebrate and lift me up. Once, I made the mistake of allowing a woman into my intimate space who was very jealous and envious. Not only did she use her words to tear me down, but she spread lies about me to hurt my credibility. From that hurtful experience I learned the importance of someone loving themselves first, before they can love me.

Choosing relationships carefully is important to every person, particularly if you are going to fulfill the calling of God on your life.

Being surrounded by healthy, God-fearing people is not optional. It is essential.

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