In my studies of the life of David, I have been very touched by the TRUE friendship shared between David and Jonathan. Their friendship is a GODLY friendship. The friendship between Jonathan and David is one of the most touching friendships described in the Bible. I believe their friendship is how God intends for all of our friendships to be...Unfortantely, most "friendships" we encounter here on Earth, don't even come remotely close.
1 Samuel 18:3 ~ "And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself."
I know of a friendship that I can compare to David and Jonathan and that is one of my dear husband, Brent, and his precious friend, Trae. Those two epitomize the type of friendship that Jonathan and David had. Both my husband and his friend feel blessed by the other and would do anything for the other. Of all my husband's friends, past, present or future,Trae is his "Jonathan." Its so wonderful to have a "Jonathan" in your life. I too have one "Jonathan" in my life but she comes in the form of a lifelong friend by the name of Andrea. Those type of friendships are rare and few and far between. When you find a "Jonathan", they are the keepers...Friends come and go...but "Jonathans" are always there FAITHFUL through your life until the end and ever after. Thank the Lord for "Jonathan's" in our lives!
I ran across an article on the web that speaks of other kinds of friendships that really are NOT friendships at all. More like the opposite of that. And, unfortunately, these are the more common type of friendships we encounter in our lives instead of the "David/Jonathan" type of friendships. As I read this article, several people in my life came to mind as having fallen into one of each of these type of friends and a few even fit all the descriptions. And, I have to admit, I can even see where I have been a toxic friend to others in some ways myself.
Here is the article and I will put in parentheses, Scripture verses, to show where God's word supports or doesn't support certain types of friendships. I pray that this helps anyone out there who has experienced this or is experiencing this...Or maybe recognize some of this type of behavior in your own self and let the Holy Spirit refresh you and renew you in any area needed. ~ cj patterson
- Be wary of a friend who gossips about you. (Proverbs 11:13 - "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." Proverbs 16:28 ~ A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.") Any friend who tells tales on a friend is not a friend. Instead, being with you simply offers this person an opportunity to glean details for spreading around to others. If you find out that this is happening, you're with a toxic friend. Be careful about jumping to assumptions, however. If your friend slips up once, this may just be a situation of not handling things properly and they might seek your forgiveness. If it happens regularly, however, the pattern should serve to warn you.
- Consider mockery carefully. (Proverbs 22:10 - "Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended." ) Mockery can commence in a friendship as mere, gentle ribbing of one's faults by way of endearment or genuine affection. If it becomes the normal way of relating, however, especially in front of other people, then you have a recipe for a toxic friendship. After a time, it can be too easy for such a friend to use this a defense mechanism to ward off criticism of themselves and to offload that onto you. In this case, you become the target that your friend uses to outplay the potential for attack from others against them.
- Consider your feelings about your friend and the time spent together. Ask yourself these questions...
- Is this something that your friend has just started to do, or has it been going on for a long time?
- Does spending time with your friend make you feel defensive or upset?
- Do you spend time justifying your own behavior around your friend instead of it feeling "natural" to be together?
- Are you happy with this friend?
- Do you feel belittled, attacked, used?
- Does the friendship feel unbalanced and like plain hard work?
- Do you feel at fault for things that happen to your friend?
- Has your friend betrayed your confidences?
- Does it feel like competition rather than a balanced and caring friendship?
- Recognize what constitutes a healthy friendship. It is important to look at things in the positive light as well as the negative situation, to help you balance your feelings and the interpretation of the situation. A good, healthy friendship involves feeling like you are supporting one another, acting as a sounding board for each other. Good friends don't compete negatively; if there is competition, it is openly acknowledged and each other's achievements are lauded and appreciated equally. Good friends care for one another, and keep secrets between each other. Good friends spend time helping each other overcome adversity rather than creating it and maintaining it. Good friendships are relationships that make both people feel good about themselves and feel natural. Even though a friendship needs to be worked on as much as any relationship, a good friendship doesn't feel like work; it feels like building foundations, and growing a garden; pleasant, worthwhile, rewarding, and filled with give-and-take in equal measure. (Ecclesiasties 4:9-10 ~"Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!")
- Act on your feelings and analysis of the situation. If you recognize the signs of a toxic friendship, get yourself out of it and move on. It is not worth continuing at the expense of your health, self-esteem, and happiness.
- The promise-breaker ~ Proverbs 22:1 - "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
- The double-crosser ~ Matthew 26:48 ~ "Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 'The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.'"
- The self-absorbed ~ Proverbs 8:1 ~ "An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment."
- The discloser ~ Proverbs 20:19 ~ "A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much."
- The competitor ~ Ecclesiastes 4:4 ~ "And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
- The fault-finder ~ Matthew 7:4-5 ~ "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."