Jehovah’s warning against ruinous friendships



IT is always better and advisable to be alone than in ill company.

While it is true every one of us needs friends, it only depends on the quality and calibre of these pals we choose to associate with.

A majority of so-called friends are not genuine. The generality and greater number of them are backbiters, vilifiers, slanderers and rumour-mongers.

Usually, friends we associate, link, connect, relate or equate to determine whether our future is bright or all gloom.

Yet there is a calibre of so-called henchmen who always inflict pain on you when you least expect it.

This is where one has to be very careful about the type of friends one chooses or people one always surrounds one with.

This is why Jehovah God discourages believers from mingling with unreliable friends who are wicked.

According to the book of Psalm 1:1 of the Amplified Bible: “Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers).

I like most of the Holman Christian Standard Bible version, which states: “How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers!”

So, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, be careful of the so-called friends of yours. Those who pretend to be genuine yet deep inside, they are ferocious wolves.

The issue of wrong connections (friends) is like false prophets that we see in places of worship today.

Matthew 7:15 of the New International Version attests: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

The New Living Translation reads: “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.”

This is exactly how wrong connections operate.

They wreck your life down in a slit of an eye.

This is why the book of 1 Corinthians 15:33 discourages being in bad company. The scripture denounces such friendship as corrupting good character.

The Berean Study Bible reads: “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

GOD’S WORD® Translation verifies: “Don’t let anyone deceive you. Associating with bad people will ruin decent people.

The International Standard Version attests: “Stop being deceived: Wicked friends lead to evil ends.”

My question to you is: Are the people you call your friends genuine or are they only after leading you astray?

Fellow believers, do not let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Instead, kick them out in your life because they are useless.

King Hezekiah is a good example of the folly of accepting every person in his life as a friend. He showed strangers from Babylon his treasures unknowing that they visited to pull him down.

Those Babylonians are a version of today’s majority of your so-called friends. When people are in a genuine relationship, they do not come to spy on you. Those who spy on you would want to bring you down or tear you into pieces.

The book of 2 Kings 20:12-19 of the Amplified Bible versions testifies:

“12. At that time [a]Berodach-baladan a son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

13 Hezekiah listened to and welcomed them and [[b]foolishly] showed them all his treasure house—the silver and gold and spices and precious oil and his armoury and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house (palace) nor in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, “What did these men say [that would cause you to do this for them]? Where have they come to you?” Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.”

15 Isaiah said, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything that is in my house (palace). There is nothing in my treasuries that I have not shown them.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord. 17 ‘Behold, the time is coming when everything that is in your house, and that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord.

18 ‘And some of your sons (descendants) who will be born to you will be [c]taken away [as captives]; and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Is it not good, if [at least] there will be peace and security in my lifetime?”

To borrow some facts from HealthLine, which address the following:

Wrong friends like gossiping. They are the type who when you confide in, the next day, your entire social circle knows the details.
Toxic friends enjoy spreading secrets around, even when you ask them to keep personal information private. Someone who consistently breaks your trust probably doesn’t care much about your feelings.

When you call them out on their behavior, they shrug off your distress or give a flippant, ‘Sorry.’ Instead of taking time to consider your perspective, they say, “I’m sorry you feel that way” or follow up their apology with a defensive “but.”

You know the one: “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, but it was just a joke.” These hollow apologies prove someone doesn’t really care how their actions affect you.

Unpredictability alone doesn’t necessarily indicate someone is toxic, but when their reactions could cause harm or feel abusive, it’s wise to proceed with caution. No one is entirely predictable, but it’s reasonable to expect someone you trust to mostly express their emotions in safe, healthy ways.

Spending time with a close friend should make you feel good, generally speaking. Maybe spending time with one particular friend leaves you uneasy or upset.

You might not even have a good explanation why, but when you leave them, you feel more relieved than disappointed, and you don’t look forward to spending time with them. If you notice this unsettled feeling, consider examining your friendship for other signs that things are wrong.

Have a friend who likes to point out the ways you don’t measure up to their other friends? Maybe your apartment is smaller than X’s apartment so it’s not as fun to hang out with you.

People have their own unique traits and differences, and a good friend will recognize this. They won’t compare you to others or imply you’re somehow less than another person. They definitely do not use peer pressure to get you to do things you’d prefer not to do, either.

Ever had a fair-weather friend? They drop in when things are going well or when they need something, but when you’re struggling, you cannot reach them at all.

Some friends can go on for an hour about their recent problems. When they finish venting, they offer a token, “And how are you?” before quickly turning the conversation back to themselves.

True friends don’t just take. They also offer empathy for your concerns, in circumstances good, bad, or anywhere in between.

Someone who tries to change things about you may not be an ideal friend.

A true friend understands that people have different personalities, and they’ll accept you for yourself. If you ask for guidance on something you’d like to change, they might provide support and encouragement — but they will probably wait for you to ask instead of telling you what you should do.

Say you struggle in social settings and want to get better at meeting new people. A good friend might suggest you come to their next game night so they can introduce you to a few other friends in a comfortable environment.

Toxic friendships can have a pretty significant impact on overall well-being— and not positively. Spending time with people who don’t care about your feelings can eventually affect your emotional and physical health.

If you notice any of the following signs after spending time with a friend, you may want to consider re-evaluating the friendship.

Spending time with friends should increase your sense of connection.

A toxic friendship might leave you feeling ignored instead. You reach out to make plans, but you’re left out of group events and your messages go unanswered (unless, of course, they need something from you).

They don’t seem to want to spend time with you, and the friendship does not fulfil you or feel like a friendship at all.

Reduced stress is one key benefit of strong friendships. Seeing friends might not always make you feel 100 percent better, but you will probably notice some improvement.

A toxic friend, far from helping relieve stress, can add to it. They might say or do things that upset you when you spend time together, for example.

Even when you are without them, you might spend a lot of time thinking back to your negative interactions, which can make you feel tense, irritable, even downright awful.

True friends offer support when you need it. This support is not always tangible. At the very least, friendship typically involves listening with empathy and offering validation for distress and pain.

In a toxic friendship, you never feel that support or compassion. You feel minimized when they brush off your problems or ignored outright if they never respond to your messages or requests for help.

In short, they aren’t there for you when you need a friend most.

Your self-confidence and self-esteem take a hit. When someone continually puts you down and treats you poorly, you might start to accept this behavior and stop expecting anything better.

As you begin to believe their put-downs and start to doubt your own strengths and capabilities, your self-esteem may start to diminish.

Another outcome of manipulation is that you start to think you are in the wrong.

When they lash out at you, you might believe you deserve it. You might decide they never offer support because you ask for help too often. So you try making it up to them by jumping in whenever they need something.

You might even feel grateful they spend any time with you since, after all, they’ve pointed out so many of your flaws.

People who behave in toxic ways often use manipulation to get what they want. Manipulation often leaves the impression that something is wrong but you cannot identify exactly what.

Brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, those who believe in this True Gospel, say amen!

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