Toxic Friends

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)

I was not a popular kid in high school. I know, shocking, right?! I was actually pretty shy, and my self-esteem was wrapped up in my girlfriend at the time. So, how the relationship was going, was how I was feeling. Let’s just say it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Aside from that relationship, I didn’t really ever have close friends. In fact, many of the people in school used to treat me like a friend just so that they could make fun of me. I was tall and very skinny. I had braces (those weren’t cool back then, BTW) and really no fashion sense. So, kids would invite me to hang out with them after school and then they would put me down. Usually I would just walk away after they got in a few jabs, wondering to myself why I kept falling for their fake invitation to friendship when I got burned every time.

I’m guessing that a lot of you reading this can relate. Maybe it’s still happening in your life. So, let me share some hope with you in the form of our verse today, “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” I love that even King Solomon understood this. He was the richest and wisest king in history. Yet, he too understood that there are people out there who just love to tear others down.

So, is there no hope for decent friendships? Of course, there is! But, here’s the hard part – we have to quit settling for toxic relationships. You see, we are partly to blame for those “friends,” as Solomon put it, that destroy us. We allow them into our lives in the first place and then refuse to walk away from the relationship. The issue is that we choose to hold on to things that are damaging to us because we either: a) spent too much time investing in them to let them go; or b) we don’t think we can do anything better.

Here’s the deal. It’s OK to be alone for awhile and seek out healthy relationships. I know, loneliness can be painful for many of us. However, if we spend our time investing in our relationship with God, (which is the healthiest relationship in the universe!) then God will lead us to healthy friendships. If we spend our time investing in toxic “friends,” then we won’t experience true friendship. Let go of those that hurt you. Embrace those who don’t.

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