You shall love your neighbour as yourself. —Jesus, Matthew 22:39
In Scripture the word for friend and the word for neighbour is the same. Proverbs offers some sage wisdom on how to differentiate between the good and the bad when it comes to the friends you have.
Here are the tell-tale signs of a terrible friend. If you will love God’s wisdom, then don’t cultivate friends this way; don’t be this friend.
A terrible friend is one who encourage you to participate in, and excuse, sinful behaviour
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. —Proverbs 1:10
A man of violence entices his neighbour and leads him in a way that is not good. —Proverbs 16:29
A terrible friend is one who loves sharing titbits of information that invite suspicion, secrecy, and separation from others
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. —Proverbs 16:28
A terrible friend is one who makes you feel good about yourself when instead you need an urgent warning
A man who flatters his neighbour spreads a net for his feet. — Proverbs 29:5
A terrible friend is one who defines the friendship in terms of the benefit gained from the friendship
Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend. Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. —Proverbs 19:4, 6
If we can put it another way, be wise in the choice of people you spend much time with.
- Don’t spend time with those who cause you to stumble spiritually
- Don’t listen to those who love saying bad things about others
- Don’t believe those who only say flattering things to you
- Don’t narrow your friends to those in a particular economic bracket