"The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray." – Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV)
Knowing how to spot a real friend from a fake friend is very important. We've all had friends who at one time hurt us, deserted us, or even betrayed us. While it's normal to have some disagreements with friends once in a while, what is not normal is that we allow someone to destroy our life for the sake of being their friend.
Bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud said in his book, "Necessary Endings," that some of our relationships need to end in order for us to have a fresh start, or perhaps move on from an otherwise unhealthy situation. We should be careful to assess who we allow to be our friends in order to be free from what might just hinder our pursuit of Christ.
Dear reader, spare yourself from trouble and choose the right friends. Proverbs 27:12 tells us, "A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." We should be vigilant to see if a certain friend is actually dangerous to us and do what it takes to save ourselves from unnecessary trouble.
To help you spot fake friends, here are some telltale signs you should watch out for:
If your friend loves to gossip, chances are they have already gossiped about you behind your back. If they can spread other people's secrets, what makes you think they won't spread yours?
Proverbs 20:19 tells us, "He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not meddle with him who flatters with his lips."
They could appear to be caring and sensitive people, but the moment they gather some knowledge about you they have another thing added to their "gossip topic list."
Psalm 41:5-6 also tells us, "My enemies speak evil of me: "When will he die, and his name perish?" And if people come to see me, they speak insincerely; their heart gathers iniquity to itself, when they go outside, they tell it."
Be careful of people who love to gossip.
2) They take more than they give
If you've had a friend who only came to ask for favors and get benefits from you, you know what I'm talking about. There are some who befriend you because of what they benefit from you, not because they are true.
Proverbs 19:4 tells us, "Wealth makes many friends, but the poor is separated from his neighbor." Think about that.
Even Jesus had that friend in the form of Judas Iscariot. Although Christ gave Him grace and trusted him, he still betrayed the Lord for what he could benefit: a mere thirty pieces of silver (see Matthew 26:14-16).
3) They leave you in your times of need
Do you have friends who are there for fun but not for when you're in trouble? That's a clear sign of fake friendship. A real friend loves you all the time – not only when you can do them good:
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17)
Most Important Sign of All
Friends, there are many more signs to watch out for, the but most important one is this: when a friend draws you farther away from the Lord.
If you have a friend who pulls you away from God, let that friend go. Regardless of who they are or what they do, the moment they pull you away from an intimate relationship with the Lord through His Word and prayer, cut that relationship. The Lord Jesus said,
"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:37)
Let's all pursue Christ more than our friends.