Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pitfalls in Choosing Friends (taken from The Purple Cellar)

Wow, 2 posts back to back. It's been awhile since that happened. Be sure and look at the one from last night. Hope it's helpful to you.

This one is all borrowed. I find something edifying almost every time I visit the Purple Cellar Since I'm limiting my comptuer time these days, by the time I do get over to visit that site, there's usually lots of terrific articles to choose from. Here's what they have to say about friendships. Read slowly. I think you can also glean from here what it means to be a good friend, a true friend. Everything below this sentence is quoted, just so you know.

Here are some pitfalls--in ourselves and in others--to be aware of in choosing our friends, as well as some ways to identify these pitfalls in relationships we already have.

1) Self-identity. We pick people we want to be like or whom we want others to believe we are like.
Tip-off: You want to be her friend because she is connected to people you desire to be associated with.

2) God substitution. We allow a friend to displace our dependence on God.
Tip-off: You dial your friend when a crisis hits before you pray.

3) The sharpening effect. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17). The primary criterion for choosing a friend is the impact on our faith.
Tip-off: Your commitment to Christ is diminishing through this friendship rather than flourishing.

4) Counsel. True friends are persuasive. Is the counsel your friend offers worldly or biblical?
Tip-off: She speaks more about self-esteem then about self-denial.

5) Ego-building. Do you actually like this person? Or do you simply like the fact they she likes you?
Tip-off: You are drawn to someone who flatters you. “Do not associate with one who flatters with his lips” (Prov. 20:19).

6) Anger. “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul” (22:24–25). A habitually angry person is generally not someone who is concerned about God’s agenda. In fact, her anger often indicates she is living in rebellion against it. Anger is linked to frustration, and frustration typically comes when we aren’t getting our way.
Tip-off: Your time with her often leaves you questioning the goodness of God.

7) Spiritual growth. Someone wisely observed, "We are conformed to that upon which we center our interest and love." And more weighty still are Paul’s words: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” (1 Cor. 15:33).
Tip-off: You don’t want others to know you went out with her last night.

8) Love of pleasure. What is her level of interest in and commitment to sensual enjoyments? A good, healthy enjoyment of God's bounty glorifies him; a fixation on such pleasures does not. “Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat” (Prov. 23:20)
Tip-off: She is someone you call when you are in the mood to overindulge.

9) Stability. “Do not associate with those given to change” (Prov. 24:21). We can—and should—reach out to love unstable people, but we should do so without linking ourselves emotionally to them.
Tip-off: You have feelings of anxiety during and after your times together.

10) Love of controversy. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17–18).
Tip-off: You are always on the defensive around your friend about your faith, your ministry activities, or your church.

1 comment:

J White said...

I am amazed at the richness of this. Wow, what a call to self examination, thank you thank you Jamie, Love you, Jamie