Wisdom About Friends
A bad friend is someone who uses people for their own advantage. They love things and use people. They are selfish and want what they want no matter who gets hurt. It’s all about them and no one else. A bad friend will turn on their “friends” in a heartbeat if it serves their purpose. They will double-cross and desert others to gain an advantage or get out of trouble. They will also do everything they can to turn a Christian away from following after God.
We find a sad story of bad friends in 1 Kings 12. King Solomon died and his son Rehoboam became king. Look at how Rehoboam’s longtime friends advised him and what happened because he followed their advice.
“And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day. And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.” 1 Kings 12:6-19
Rehoboam’s friends wanted to take a more prominent place in the kingdom and get more things from the people, so they gave the king unwise, selfish advice. They advised the king to use the people of Israel to get things for themselves. That advice led to a rebellion that affected Israel for centuries. Bad advice from bad friends can affect a child’s life for many years, even for a lifetime and through many generations.
A bad friend will use division as a method of control in relationships. They will lie about other people in order to get ahead. They divide to conquer. Bad friends want to be first. They want their way about everything. They will do anything to get what they want. Their anger, deception and lies destroy lives.
“A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.” Proverbs 16:28
“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 17:9
“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Proverbs 26:22
An angry person does not make a good friend. They can have such an impact within a friendship that good people change and become something they weren’t.
“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
Anger and rage are bad character qualities. A person who is angry and expresses rage needs help. They also need to be watched carefully for the possibility of affecting others negatively. Choose friends wisely. Look for people who are slow to get angry and careful in their actions toward others.
“A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 15:18
“As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” Proverbs 26:21
Notice the part pride can play in anger.
“He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.” Proverbs 28:25
“An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Proverbs 29:22-23
“Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.” Proverbs 30:33
Angry people are often hateful people. Hatred is rooted deep in their heart. That is a dangerous character flaw and one that can take a child down a dangerous path to destruction. Teach your children to be cautious around people who hate. It is not easy to confront hate, but unless we do it will grow and become an evil vine that chokes the life out of a child, a church or a nation.
“Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Proverbs 26:23-28
More about “bad friends” in the next part of Teaching Wisdom to Our Children.