Today I want to explore the importance of having the right friends in your life as well as the dangers of having bad ones.

First, I want you to see the negative side of having the wrong people in your life. Did you know (and this is medically proven) that having the wrong friends in your life can be toxic to your health and well-being?

Bad friendships can increase your risk for diseases such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Bad friendships increase stress and break down self-esteem.
Bad friendships promote unhealthy lifestyle habits.

As you see, it is proven that bad relationships can and will hurt you! Friendships are important. One thing that is more important than having friends, however, is having the right kind of friends. Not all friends are good for you. There are some who would influence you to do things you would later regret. Also there are those who pose as your friends, but are actually just there to get something from you – they have their own hidden agendas of being your friend.

“Do not be deceived: “Evil company (companionship, friendship) corrupts (destroys little by little) good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

One of the main negative traits of a toxic relationship is gossip. Bad friends love to gossip, tearing down others. Gossip is evil and God talks a lot about it in His Word. Why? Because it destroys lives and does not build them. Gossip will isolate you from the good to the bad. Gossiping reflects badly on you, even if you don’t realize it. This is why it’s so important to avoid this type of behavior.

If you are constantly “gossiped” to, you yourself are prone to be a “gossiper.” People do not trust gossipers! When you know someone is a gossiper, you usually have little trust in him or her and never tell them anything serious. You know if you do, it will be spread around to other people who feed off gossip.

One of the worst effects of gossip is that it hurts others. If you’ve ever been the object of gossip or false rumors, you know how harmful it is. You can feel embarrassed, ashamed, and, disgraced even if you haven’t done anything to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Think about how you felt the moment someone told you that you were being gossiped about. I can guarantee you did not feel good.

“A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.” Prov 20:19

“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Prov 16:28

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Prov 11:13

“Anyone who refuses to slander others, does not listen to gossip, never harms his neighbor.”
Psalm 15:3

Toxic relationships are also built around the negative traits of selfishness and manipulation. If you don’t do what they want, they will pressure or even try to embarrass you to submit to their desires. These type of people know how to manipulate to get what they want, regardless of how it affects you. It is impossible to live a “right” life with the “wrong” friends!

“Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” Prov 13:20 MSG

“Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious— don’t get infected.” Prov 22:24, 25 MSG

If we allow these type of relationships to continue, we are just as guilty as the ones who are doing these ugly things. We cannot take part in gossip or any other destructive behavior in order to be “friendly.” The truth is, if we listen to and tolerate these toxic attitudes and actions, we share the blame for it!

Do I really need to write more about the negative effects of a toxic relationship? I don’t think so. The truth is, you already knew it wasn’t good in the first place. If you have a toxic friend it’s time to become set free! Life is too precious and short to be robbed of a healthy, fulfilling life in this type of a relationship. Do not be evil and do not be mean, just cut the tie and move on. If you have seen traits in your own life that define a “Bad” friend-CHANGE! You can! Allow the Word of God to help you in this change. Repent to your friend and ask them to help you become better. Cast you care upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7), ask Him to help you in this change. This is your BREAKOUT Year, so expect a breakout in these areas. I know you can do this!