Are you being too judgmental or is your friend actually that bad? Does God want you to give this person more chances or is God telling you to put up bigger boundaries? Is this person really your friend or are they an agent of Satan being used to bring evil into your life?
Here are 4 warning signs God will show you when your friend is actually toxic.
1. If Your Friendship with This Person Is a Bridge Back Into Your Worldly Ways, This Friend Is Toxic for You
The term “toxic” is relevant; meaning, a friend might not be toxic for other people while they could still be toxic for you.
An unbeliever, for example, may be a moral person who lives a pretty good life when compared to other unbelievers. However, if you are a Christian, this unbeliever will have a totally different moral compass than you; thus, this person could be a toxic friend for you even though everyone else gets along fine with him or her. Ephesians 2:1-3 explains:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
If God has saved you and put you on a new path, those old friends trying to pull you back onto the old path are toxic to you now (James 4:4). If they reject your invitation to join you as you follow the Lord, you have to move on and let them go (Matthew 10:14).
2. If This Friend and Your Christian Community Are Like Oil and Water, This Person Is Toxic for You
No matter how much you stir oil and water, they always keep separating. This is what happens when you have a healthy Christian community and a toxic friend in your life.
You will try to mesh the two, but this toxic friend will be unable to coexist in a peaceful way with your Christian community. While it’s sad to let someone go if you have love for this person, the fact that they cannot mix with other Christians is a sign they are toxic and will bring evil into your life.
2 Timothy 2:22, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
3. If This Person Just Wants to Unload Their Burdens Onto You But Never Wants to Help You With Your Burdens, This Is a Toxic Friend
Helping your friends is what you are supposed to do. It actually brings a lot of joy into your life when your friends come to you with a problem and you are able to help them (Acts 20:35). Not only that, when you help your friend, it increases your closeness with this person. You become even better friends afterwards.
However, if this person is always in need of you but they are never there when you need them, this is unhealthy. Galatians 6:2 states, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Philippians 2:3-4 also explains, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
It’s right to put others above yourself. However, when these people are not treating you with the same sacrificial love, eventually you will run dry and empty. A healthy friendship is mutual, where you both are able to assist each other in your times of need.
4. If This Friend Discourages Your Dreams and Doubts God’s Good Plan for Your Life, This Person Is Toxic for You
We have to be careful about who we share our hopes and dreams with. A good friend will listen and encourage you even if they don’t understand your dream. Even if they wouldn’t want what you want, even if they don’t think your dream is realistic – in the end, your friend will support you.
Of course they will share their concerns if they think you are doing something unwise. But if they just don’t understand your dream, they will choose to support you even without understanding it.
A toxic friend, however, will always have something negative to say when you talk about your hopes and dreams. Instead of encouraging you and cheering you on, they will discourage you and cast more doubt on you.
As Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Here’s a playlist of past videos I’ve made called What Does the Bible Say About Friendship?
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