When I was in high school, it seemed that people acted like the greatest sign of a solid friendship was if girls would “confide” in each other about other people. Fortunately, none of my friends have ever believed this way. But one time I did encounter a group that seemed to get their connection through talking about other people. At first, I excused what they were doing because it just felt like they wanted to be my friend and they trusted me enough to share secrets. But it didn’t take long to realize that “confiding” meant gossiping and I decided to spend my time somewhere else. I also learned my lesson the hard way: If a friend is okay with gossiping to you about other people, they’ll probably be okay with gossiping about you to someone else. That’s not the kind of friend I want to be.
The people we hang out with will eventually rub off on us in one way or another. Before we know it, we find ourselves talking and acting like the people around us. Sometimes it happens without us even realizing, like it did for me when I was tempted to excuse gossip.
We should invest in relationships that will encourage us to be the best we can be, not tempt us to do things we know are wrong. Christ-honoring friendships will invite you to love Christ more and love others well. They will build you up and assure you of your worth and identity in Christ; they shouldn’t make you feel discouraged or vulnerable. They will be a safe place and inspire you to pursue God’s call on your life, not force you to chase and earn acceptance from this world or other people.
It may feel difficult to find these friendships, but they are out there! Let’s pray together that the Lord will continually bring Christ-honoring friendships into every season of our lives. They are precious, and God will be faithful to provide opportunities to build community with other believers!