Friendship Breakups: What does the Bible say about ending friendships?
I used to have a pretty idyllic vision about what my friendships would look like (spoiler alert: there are multiple chapters on this topic in my upcoming book! But as with a lot of things in my life, I realized
my expectations weren't aligned with God's promises.
I went through a painful and unexpected friendship break up that left my head spinning.
Am I worthy of friendship? Why do I always feel like the girl without her "people"? Did I do something wrong? Is this God's plan for friendships?
Maybe you've asked yourself one of these questions.
I went on a search through my Bible to understand God's vision and promises for us in friendship, a journey I'm still on, and I wanted to share some of my insights with you.
What does the Bible say about ending friendships?
1. Friendships can be seasonal
We are told there is a time for everything, "a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend," (Ecclesiastes3:1-8) but when I read through those verses, I think I'd love to keep all the dancing parts, but I'd rather toss out the mourning aspect.
In friendships, it's so fun to get to know new people and to find kindred spirits. But it's intense and scary to think about walking away from a relationship that we've invested our time and hearts in. Yet, the Bible is clear about how seasonal life is, and this includes our friendships.
Some friends might last you a lifetime, but some friends might come in and out of your life, or walk through just one sweet season with you. You can joyfully end friendships when you sense God leading you into a new season. There is a time for everything, including ending a friendship.
2. Bad company corrupts good morals
A good friend should draw you near Jesus. We are warned that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33) and in this, I think God was giving us permission to end a friendship. Today's culture tells us to leave any relationship that isn't serving us, and that isn't what this means. Just because you're frustrated or disappointed with a friend doesn't mean it's time to walk away.
Some friendships will be refined by seasons of wrestling and difficulty. But, if a friend is consistently showing up to gossip, tearing you down, or influencing you in a way that negatively impacts your walk with Jesus, it might be time to create some distance.
Even someone with the very best character will be impacted by the company they keep. One of my favorite quotes is to "surround yourself with people who you want to become." Use this to evaluate your relationships by considering if the people you're around are people who you want to be influenced by.
3. God wants to do a new thing!
When I transitioned out of some friendships, I was terrified. I was comfortable and known in those relationships (even with the dysfunction in them) and I didn't want to let go. But God reminded me that He was doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19) and I needed to make space for it.
We only have a limited number of hours in the day, and realistically we can only invest in a certain amount of people and things. As a multi passionate person, this is a challenging one for me. But Jesus modeled for us a variety of levels of trust and relationships during His time on earth. He prioritized time with the Father, and He would send the crowds away (Matthew 15:38). He had boundaries in His relationships, and was aware of how He was investing His time.
God might call you to end a friendship because it's drawing you away from Him. Friendships come to natural end dates simply because everything is seasonal. And ultimately, we don't have unlimited time to invest in our friendships so we have to use our time wisely, considering how the Spirit wants us to spend it first and foremost. Invest in the friendships God is calling you to invest in.
Have you had to end a friendship before? How did you see God at work in it?