I recently decided to make a quick study of friendships in the Bible. Below are listed a few types of friendships/friends which seem advisable to avoid.
1. Friendship with the world: "Know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." --James 4:4
God has called us to be a holy and peculiar people. The world hated Jesus and will criticize anyone who preaches the truth. The devil is the god of this world and to please the world a person must bow to him. Stand up for what's right. Never compromise with the devil even if you are ostracized, persecuted, and hated.
Biblical example: When Pilot was trying to find a way to release Jesus the Jews told him, "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar." Pilot bowed to their will and crucified Jesus. Who cares if you're Caesar's friend? You don't want to be friends with the devil.
2. Friendship with the wicked: Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul" --Proverbs 22:24-25
Don't make close friendships with bad people--even "to reform them." Bad habits, like the flu, are contagious. Do not tolerate evil.
3. Fair weather friendship: The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends." --Proverbs 14:20 "My lovers and friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off." --Psalm 38:11
Some "friends" will desert you as soon as any problems arise. They'll be there for you when you're rich, having a good time, and famous, but will be gone the moment things turn sour. Even worse, they may betray you to save their own skins or make a little extra money. This type of friend is dangerous!
Biblical examples: Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver is the most well known example. Others are the "friends" at Samson's wedding who cheated on a bet and later stole his wife. Jeremiah prophesied that in the fall of Jerusalem, people would "eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friends in the siege." Does that make you feel like being more careful about choosing friends?
4. Job's friends: "Miserable comforters are ye all." --Job 16:2
Some friends are determined to straighten you out for "your own good." They have good but mis-directed intentions.
Biblical examples: Job's three friends are a perfect example of this. They came to comfort their good friend Job, and instead ended up accusing him of being a terrible bad sinner who needed to repent. Their "comfort" made him even more miserable than he was before (God said Job was a perfect and upright man). Another example are Jesus' friends who thought he had lost his mind and needed mental help (Mark 3:21).
Thankfully there are also examples of wonderful friendships in the Bible:
Stayed tuned for my next post about good friendships!