By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
Sadly, there are many people who struggle with having fake friends in the world. Maybe you have personally dealt with fake friends in your own life. Many people believe fake friends are something you just struggle with during elementary, middle, or high school; however, there are plenty of fake friends who are full-grown adults.
Fake friends are those “friends” who say they are your friend but act differently. Fake friends will talk about you behind your back, be mean to you, or manipulate you. God does not want you to have fake friends and He does not want you to be a fake friend either.
What Does the Bible Say about Fake Friends?
“Growing up means realizing a lot of your friends aren’t really your friends” is an anonymous quote that resonates with many of us. I have personally had my share of fake friends and if you know from your own experience, fake friends are not good to have in your life.
Rather than being kind, building you up, and encouraging you, fake friends are mean, tear you down, and hurt you. Fake friends can really hurt a person emotionally and cause them to doubt their own self-worth. True friends are with you through thick and thin.
Friends who are true do not only show up when things are going well in your life. As Benjamin Franklin rightly states, “A false friend and a shadow attend only while the sun shines.” Fake friends only show up when things are going well in your life or as long as you give them something.
When you are in need or struggling, fake friends will leave and abandon you. These fake friends leave because they were never your friends to begin with. If you have to give gifts to a “friend” in order for them to like you, they are not really your friend. True friends want to be your friend just for being you.
You should not have to buy them gifts, wear certain clothes, or act a certain way in order for them to be your friend. You have your own personality, quirks, and interests that make you uniquely you. God has created all of us fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:13-16). True friends will love you — quirks and all.
The Bible tells us true friends will love us at all times (Proverbs 17:17). Fake friends do not truly love you. They will only manipulate you to get what they want out of you. Sadly, identifying fake friends can be difficult at times because they are two-faced.
A fake friend might be nice to you at times, but then they are mean to you at other times. It can be a messy business when you find yourself surrounded by potential fakers. However, there are ways to identify fake friends in your life.
How to Identify Fake Friends
The Bible tells us that we will be able to recognize a person by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). If you think you have a fake friend or many fake friends, you can find out by asking yourself these questions. Is the person two-faced? Do they smile and laugh with me, but then talk about me behind my back (Ibid.)?
Do they gossip about you to others? Do they always belittle you or make you feel inferior (Ibid.)? Are they never there when you need them? Do they smile or act amused when you are upset? Are they only nice to you when other people are around? Do they take advantage of you?
Do they make fun of you? Do they backstab you? Do they manipulate you (Ibid.)? If you have answered yes to at least one of these questions, there is a good chance that you have a fake friend on your hands. It can be sad to discover that your friend is a fake friend, but trust me, it is never good to remain in a fake friendship.
Fake friendships are toxic to your mental health and can cause you to develop low self-esteem. It can make you question your worth. Do not let fake friends cause pain in your life. As a child of God, you need true friends who are going to stick with you through not only the ups in life but also in the valleys of life.
It is important to have Christian friends who love, encourage, and support you. Nobody deserves to have a fake friend. It is important that we make sure we are not fake friends to others either.
When we are friends with a person, it should be because you want to be their friend — not because you want something from them, or they have to “be” a certain way in order to fit in with your crowd.
True friendships are not based on how a person looks, their economic status, or their marital status. Genuine friendships are built out of mutual trust, compassion, and love for each other.
Fake Friends Are Bad Company
Fake friends are bad influences. In a way, having fake friends can be considered a form of the person gaslighting you. The Bible tells us bad company corrupts our own character (1 Corinthians 15:33-34). We should never follow the ways of the wicked (Proverbs 4:13-21).
By sticking around with fake friends, you will only find yourself being hurt, abused, and manipulated. A fake friend’s bad attitude, character, and improper conduct may even rub off on you. Who we choose to spend our time with does affect us as individuals.
If we are always around fake friends, their behavior will rub off on us. If you find yourself in a fake friendship today, never fear. While it is sad to learn that your friend is a fake friend, you can rest in the peace that Jesus is always your friend.
He loves you even on your darkest days. There are many other great friends for you to discover in the world, who will stick by your side no matter what. We do not choose who is in our family, but we do choose our friends.
Since we choose our friends, we need to choose them carefully (Proverbs 12:26). As Christians, we should be a friend to everyone; however, for our deeper friendships, we need to be careful about who we confide in. Do not let yourself be trapped in the realm of fake friendships.
True friendships are based on a mutual love for each other. It can be quite hard to find a true friend, but they are long worth the wait. Genuine friendships will not diminish when a problem arises, nor will genuine friendship grow cold.
A true friend stays by your side even when you are going through a difficult time. Real friends are not judgmental, and they do not put you down. In other words, true friends build each other up — they do not tear each other down. Throughout your life, friendships will come and go, but true friends will always stay with you.
Even if they cannot be with you physically in person, they will try to keep in touch with you. This truth is highlighted by this anonymous quote, “Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they're always there.” Genuine friends will remain loyal, honest, and loving even when it is hard.
True friends are not afraid to call you out on sin in your life and are willing to pray, encourage, and help you in any way they can. Genuine, loyal, true friends are hard to find, but they are out there. You do not need to waste your time and energy on fake friends.
If you know you have a fake friend or many fake friends, it is time to sever the cord. You still should be nice to those who are mean to you as we should never take revenge on others (Romans 12:19-21). God knows everything and He knows that your fake friends have not treated you kindly.
Revenge is the Lord’s, not our own. Continue to be kind, loving, and caring with those who have hurt you, but do not allow yourself to fall prey to fake friends again. You need true friends who will always be loyal to you no matter what. True friends are not afraid to tell you the truth even if it might hurt you.
Even if you find yourself today overwhelmed with fake friends, you can intentionally choose to break free from the bondage of fake friends. There are plenty of good, loyal, genuine friends waiting to be discovered like gems in hiding.
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Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Ihor Bulyhin
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.