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Christian Life

A Guide To Letting Go And Holding On To Friendships

Friends-Flowers-Spring

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

 

The Bible says there is a season for everything, and that includes certain friendships. Not everyone is meant to be your friend forever. There are a few telltale signs that the friend you have is there for life—or needs to stay out of your life.

We get so wrapped up in finding BFFs and simply wanting to fit in that we let a lot of things slide. We also let great people go when the relationship hits a rocky path. It’s important for anyone to have an inner circle they can trust, and how much more important is it for us Christians? We must surround ourselves with like-minded individuals and be the type of friend who will uphold our personal values.

 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)

 

When to let go…

I’m sure we’ve all wanted to be accepted into a clique that we thought had a blast together and looked amazing doing it as we stalked their Instagram account. (Oh, maybe that’s just me.) I’m not saying you have to avoid nonbelievers or throw holy water on someone who commits a sin. If their lifestyle includes constantly going against what God calls us to do, then it’s better to let them go as a close friend. I’ve seen this happen a lot when Christians first get saved: You don’t want your friends to think you’re too good for them all of a sudden, so you stick around and sometimes even backslide into the negative behaviors you used to do. If your friends respect your faith, they’ll understand if you need to distance yourself if they continue in an unrighteous lifestyle.

 

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

 

You’ve heard of the term “unequally yoked,” but most of you probably assume this only has to do with dating or marriage. That’s not exactly true. Although those will be your most intimate relationships, you have to apply that concept to every area of your life. Your BFF Susy Q cannot be your BFF if she doesn’t see eye to-eye with your core values.

 

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

 

I know this is a brutal truth, but you really have to ask yourself why you would spend most of your quality time with someone who never has quality time with the Lord.

We treat others the way we want to be treated, so why is it that sometimes we don’t hold others up to that same responsibility? I find it especially true that Christians may think it’s the “holy” way to turn the other cheek and forgive someone 77 x 7 times. If someone is demeaning to you, is physically or verbally abusive to you, or forces you into shameful activity, it’s time to tell them to go kick rocks. Abusive relationships may be the hardest to get away from because of the fear or loyalty you have associated with that person. Find a support group and have backup to help you make that difficult decision to let them go. God has much better in store for His beloved.

 

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. (Romans 15:2)

 

When to hold on…

It’s common to “friend hop” when you have a rough season with someone. We’re always changing because God is constantly stretching and growing us. You might not like it when someone tells you about an ugly side to your personality, but if they are doing it to glorify God and help you, it’s time to listen. If what they say lines up with the Word, your Spirit will set off a “ding ding ding” and chances are it wasn’t the first time you heard it anyway.

 

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

 

This type of friend builds you up to be the individual God wants you to be, and they are willing to help you become that person.

 

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)

 

We are supposed to delight in each other’s joys and walk through the dark valleys with our friends, but it’s important to do this with those you trust. People in your life who have stayed with you, prayed with you and kept your personal conversations between the two of you are what make up your support group. Those friends are good for you because they don’t gossip behind your back or condemn you for faltering every once in a while. They’ll also rejoice over your praise reports when you’ve made it out on the other side instead of becoming jealous or competitive when something good happens to you.

How easy is it to hold on to things and create a record of wrongdoings to throw in someone’s face during every argument? If you’ve found a person who never hurts your feelings, never lies and never commits a sin, I’d love to meet them because they may be Jesus himself. Forgiveness (and repentance!) are key to moving forward and becoming closer with each other and to God. This friend is willing to start a clean slate in a healthy relationship and create a peaceful atmosphere for you both.

 

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)

 

There are many more reasons to let go and reasons to hold on, but I hope this is a good start in helping you to do a relationship spring cleaning.

 

How do you usually decide who stays and who goes?

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Image: Lightstock | Maura Griesse

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18 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by Berry-Dancer on February 24, 2016 at 11:45

    I have a question about this. I have a friend I had been pretty close to for 2 years. She’s a Christian, and I’m very much struggling with my faith so I would like to keep her as a friend. She’s been to busy to get together with me though, and she doesn’t email/text much. We sit by each other at lunch, but we hardly talk then either, and when we do it’s usually me telling her a joke she doesn’t laugh at. Because we communicate so little I’m not sure she’s a friend worth keeping, but one of my two other friends isn’t much better, and I don’t want to be left with one friend I’m doing well to talk to once a week. We’re moving to another state in a few months anyway, but I would still like to get this sorted out. Does anyone have advice?

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by WonderingorWandering on August 14, 2015 at 16:45

    I am having a really hard time with this. I got way too close to someone I shouldn’t have and even now that we are not as close, I’m still affected by it.

  3. mjb198

    Posted by mjb198 on August 3, 2015 at 15:46

    Thank you so much for this! It randomly (or not so randomly! )showed up in my news feed and is exactly what I needed. God is good!

  4. drealala

    Posted by drealala on June 9, 2015 at 11:06

    love this <3

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on June 16, 2015 at 21:07

      Thank you for reading and leaving encouragement. I’m glad this spoke to you.

  5. Volleyball4life

    Posted by Volleyball4life on June 5, 2015 at 17:23

    I totally agree. I guess for me, one of my biggest struggles is the balance between being Jesus to the lost, and not being ‘of the world’. I go to a tiny school (200 people grades K-12) and nobody in my class (or school) is Christian. I don’t want to distance myself from everyone, but I’m finding it really hard to not ‘conform’ and become like my non-Christain friends. The (10) kids at my youth group are really gossipy and cliquey. We never talk about Jesus or spiritual things. The past year I have felt almost “leukwarm” about my faith, and have become more and more complacent.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on June 16, 2015 at 21:06

      P.s. You may be the one God will use to light a fire within your youth group and your school. Stay faithful.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on June 16, 2015 at 21:04

      I am praying for you, sweetheart! I can tell you have a longing for God, and need a support system to get you where you want to be in your walk. You don’t have to distance yourself from everyone, but please be sure to constantly pour into yourself with God’s word and keep praying. He will bring the right people to you, and being on a forum like this one is a really great decision you’ve made.

  6. JesusJunkie14

    Posted by JesusJunkie14 on June 4, 2015 at 19:47

    I love this.❤️ I also needed this, because I lost my best friend about 6 months ago due to constant disagreements. We did everything together, pray, worship. Then we started going back to school, and she had family/school problem that caused bitterness, and we just decided to go separate ways. Recently she’s been starting to contact me, and I think God is bring her back into this season! *fingerscrossed* I feel like God was bringing her into a place of independance ad teaching her to lean on Him. I just really miss her.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on June 16, 2015 at 21:01

      I’m very glad that this helped you. I’ve had moments like this too where I needed an extended breather from a close friend while we both figured some things out with God. Some of those friendships will stay distant and some will be even greater and closer than before. I’m praying God brings you two back together in His time.

  7. Tanichca

    Posted by Tanichca on April 26, 2015 at 13:17

    This. I really, really needed this. I just lost two of my best friends in two weeks. One was the abusive kind, who was always insulting me and belittling me. The other was really political, and our political differences just totally drove us apart. I miss them both, and losing them hurts… but it was definitely time to let go. Thanks for this post!

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on May 28, 2015 at 21:25

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Necessary change isn’t always easy, and this is definitely a moment where God is growing you and preparing you for new and more supportive friendships. My prayers are with you all as you heal in this process.

  8. Project Inspired

    Posted by TheRed on April 1, 2015 at 11:43

    Great article!

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by coolkwekween on March 22, 2015 at 11:27

    This really spoke to me. I made some friends in college who not only don’t share my faith, but one of them consistently bags on it. I finally decided to decrease my interaction with her. It was hard, but reading this only strengthened my resolve. We can still be friends, but we can’t be as close as we were before.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on March 30, 2015 at 22:02

      @coolkwekween Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to this post. Letting go of friends isn’t always an easy thing to do, and neither is distancing yourself from them. We’ve all been in seasons where it was necessary, but learning how to do it and when becomes a skill we sharpen throughout our lives. I’m glad you were encouraged, and I pray you continue to be surrounded by others who will uplift and support you in life.

  10. Rachel love

    Posted by Rachel love on March 20, 2015 at 17:43

    My best friend is not a christian. She is deciding on what she believes. She believes there may be a spirit in the world. The irony is that she is exactly what you described in the 2nd part about keeping a friend. Now I’m not here to condom you, I just want to share my thoughts. See me and this friend were great friends 3 years ago. We fell apart, b/c that was my phase of being EXTREMELY forceful about my faith and religion. Now this past year we have become best friends again. We both tread lightly so we don’t loose this amazing friendship. She is a great friend and I could not ask for any other person to be my best friend. Yes, I pray that she accepts Jesus in her heart one day.I would love to see her up in heaven with me later in life. With her not being a christian though has not changed how close we are. In some cases it can be bad to be best friends with a non-Christians, but then there are cases like me and my friend. Thank you for this article it was very eye- opening.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on March 30, 2015 at 22:21

      @Rachel love I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Like any post, this will relate more to some than others. I understand wanting to have great people in your life whether they are believers or not. Wonderful friends are definitely hard to come by! I’m glad that your friend is searching, and that you are there for her if and when she decides to invite Jesus into her heart. I think it’s great what you said about not wanting to be forceful about your faith, even the bible says to be prepared to give an account for why you believe, and to do it with grace and humility. It’s not a bad thing to have friends who don’t share in your faith, but I do hope that you have an inner circle of like-minded Christians that you are also close with. Our purpose here in life is to share the gospel with the world so that one day we see those familiar faces with us in heaven. This isn’t easy to do alone, and it’s not advised at all.

      “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

      Having a strong network of friends we can be accountable to helps us to keep our perspective and fire for God burning strong. If you have to tread lightly with someone you are close with in order to keep that person as a friend, they are not supporting the most important reason why God brought you into this world. I pray your friend is able to have an open dialogue with you about your faith so that you can both grow.