Toxic is quite a strong word and coupled with friend creates a pretty disturbing image. But that is exactly what happens when this type of person gets a foothold in our lives. We’re never sure what’s going on in their minds. One minute we are the best friend ever and the next, a nightmare. Usually the relationship doesn’t last long but on occasions they are clever enough to hide their cunning.
Scripture has a lot to say about bad friendships and to stay away from the type person that can make a big mess before they are through.
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 NIV
A Toxic Friend Encourages Bad Behavior
“My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.” Proverbs 1:10
“In more literal English, Solomon is not saying “if” sinners entice you, he is saying “when” sinners entice you. And we can all agree that sin has enticed us throughout our lives. The parental command here is not to consent to sin, not to go willingly into it. It advises us to use our wisdom and act according to our knowledge, taught to us by our parents and found in the Scriptures.” bible.ref.com
Solomon is warning his son about how easy it is to follow someone into sin. When our friend suggests doing something wrong, they can make it seem innocent. It’s not a big thing, just a small lie, you know, a white lie.
We don’t want them to think we are prudish, we want to be “with it” and we give in. Later we are mad at ourselves. We’ve all been there.
Dishonesty Can be a Trait of a Toxic Friend
“The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy.” Proverbs 12:22
One of my pet peeves is someone who says one thing and changes it on a whim. After a while I begin to tune them out and they become an empty mouthpiece with no purpose but to flap their jaw.
How can we communicate with a person like that? We really don’t know who they are and we cannot build a relationship under those conditions.
The Lord uses strong words in reference to dishonesty. The word for detest is abomination and means: “something regarded with disgust or hatred“. Merriam Webster Dictionary God uses the word abomination in reference to the worship of idols and He puts lying in the same context.
Confrontational and Angry People are Hard to Deal With
“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Proverbs 22:24-25
If we are a friend to someone who becomes angry easily, eventually we will get caught up in their situations which will cause a great deal of distress. We think they can be helped by our concern and maybe so if they are willing to change. They need to look at what is causing the anger and sometimes this will take seeing a professional.
Some people find it hard to break the cycle of anger because they refuse to change. It will be hard to build a relationship and generally the friendship will end.
Lack of Compassion for Others
” If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
If our friend has a tendency to gloss over someone else’s problems, we might need to reconsider our relationship. People who are so engrossed in their own lives sometimes neglect the best of others. Someday it will happen to us and they will not be there if we need them.
John is saying in this verse that if we do not have compassion for others we are not expressing God’s love. As a Christian that should wake us up to how important it is to be there for others.
Abandons in Time of Need
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Ever had a friend whom you were always there for? Not out of necessity but because you cared about them? Sometimes they are appreciative, other times it seems to be expected and thanks falls through their fingers.
The true test of friendship comes in difficult situations. It’s not that we expect their attention in those times but it is natural to want comfort from our friends. People who are wrapped up in themselves find it difficult to help others in their time of need. We do not base friendship on what someone does or doesn’t do, but it can show a lack concern in the relationship.
Gossip Can Be a Trait of a Toxic Friend
” A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” Proverbs 20:19
Gossip can be born of intent or not. Either way is a problem and should be avoided. Both accomplish the same thing, PAIN.
The Lord knows our human heart and how easy it is to gossip. He instructs us to stay away from loose lips to protect others but also to protect us from consequences that can be hard to live with.
Words spoken out of place can destroy people and amends are hard to make. Whether it’s gossip or careless words both make for a toxic situation.
Some Friends Have Trouble Forgiving
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12
A friend of mine and I were having a disagreement and she told me she had trouble forgiving. She was right, she never did. Our friendship failed partially because I should have held my tongue and the other because she couldn’t forgive me. We both lost what could have been a great relationship.
We all have trouble at times forgiving because we have been hurt by words or actions. When people have trouble forgiving at all, it can make for a trying relationship.
What Does the Lord Say About Friends?
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26
Its hard to give up on some friends even at our expense. We are attracted to people for different reasons, some out of needs that have not been met elsewhere. Our childhood sometimes leaves us lacking in areas that we need to be fulfilled.
That is why God has given us the Bible to help us overcome these needs in a healthy way. He also will give us opportunities for the kind of friendships that we crave if we allow Him to direct us.
If you would like to share qualities that make for a good friendship please leave a comment.