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Troubled Friendships - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2022 12:00 am

Troubled Friendships - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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October 19, 2022 12:00 am

Are you struggling to develop good friendships?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, October 19th. Do you have a difficult relationship that causes you pain? Scripture points the way to healing, forgiveness, and restoration for troubled friendships. When you think about your assets, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Well, for most people, what comes to their mind are things like their finances and their possessions. But second only to your friendship with God. Your friends are the most valuable asset you have in life. And what I want to talk about in this message is simply this. I want to talk about the problems we have in our friendship, problems we have in our relationship. And I want to talk about troubled friendships. I want you to turn to just one verse in the Bible for the simple reason that there are many verses we could talk about. And I just want you to look, if you will, in the sixteenth chapter of the Proverbs and the twenty-eighth verse.

And notice what he says. A perverse man spreads strife and a slanderer separates intimate friends. And so oftentimes we develop friendships that don't last. We intend for them to last, but they don't.

And there are some very, very specific reasons why they do not last. And what I want us to talk about is to see what we can do to recapture those friendships. But before, let me just say this. There are times when we choose friends we should not choose. And the reason it's so important is because friends make an impact on our life. And when you and I voluntarily relate to someone and develop a friendship with someone, we are going to become to some degree a little bit like them.

Or they're certainly going to impact our life in one way or the other. And so it's very important the kind of friends we choose. Now the Scripture gives us a brief list, at least I'll choose a brief list, of the kind of friends you and I should not choose.

These are the kinds of people who should not be our close intimate friends. Now somebody says, well, but suppose I'm trying to win this person to Christ. Now there's a difference in your developing a relationship with someone in order to lead them to Christ. Then it is developing a close intimate relationship. And it may be that you want to lead somebody to Christ and there is certainly has got to be some closeness. But you have to decide because listen carefully.

If you're not careful, they'll drag you down rather than you lift them up. And so you have to decide right up front if this is an ungodly person, someone who is unsaved. You've got to decide how very definitely and clear are my convictions. Secondly, you've got to decide just how far are you willing to go to help that person to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

So you have to decide because otherwise they may impact your life in a greater way than you impact theirs. So let's look to see what God says about this. Now some of you may lose your friends as of today because God says in His Word, avoid these people. So I want you to check this out now.

Look at this. Here's some kind of friends that you and I will if we have these kind of friends, they're going to cause us trouble. Therefore, He says we're to avoid them. Let's look, if you will, and we'll stay in the book of Proverbs.

Look, if you were in the 20th chapter of Proverbs and I want you to notice the 19th verse. And one of the kinds of friends you do not want to develop a friendship with is a gossip. Listen to this. He or she who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets. Therefore, do not associate with a gossip.

Now that is an if and an but. He says don't even associate with a gossip. Now why? If you'll think about it for a moment, a gossip is not only a person who will talk to you about somebody else. Let's say your friend is a gossip. They talk to you about other people and they slander them or they criticize them.

You can just mark this down. If that person is a gossip, if things don't go just right to suit them, they're going to talk to other people about you. Gossips don't just gossip about some people. A gossip is a tale bearer. And oftentimes, as we saw in the Scripture, one who separates and divides friends.

And especially if that person is a jealous person, they will do anything and everything to keep someone else out of your life from being your friend. He says, therefore, avoid the gossip. Second, look if you will in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Proverbs.

And I want you to notice here in the twenty-fourth verse. And that is the person who is quick-tempered. He says, do not associate with a man or a woman given to anger. Or go with a hot-tempered man or woman or you will learn his ways or her ways. Now what's the problem?

The problem is this. When you associate with a person who is very, very angry and you listen to them and they begin to talk about other people and things that are happening to them and so forth. Next thing you know. He says don't even associate. You don't associate with the gossip. You don't associate with the person who is innately angry because ultimately they're going to express their venom and their anger on you. He says anger or go with a hot-tempered man or you will learn his ways. That is, you will find yourself doing the same thing.

All right. What about a person who is disloyal and discontent? Twenty-fourth chapter of the Proverbs.

Look at this. Twenty-fourth chapter. And look if you will in the twenty-first verse. My son, the fear of the Lord and the king, do not even associate with those who are given to change. That is, they're unstable.

For their calamity will rise suddenly and who knows the ruin that comes from both of them. Now he's talking about people who are both rebellious toward authority and who are unstable. Any person who is rebellious in any area of their life, they have a bit of instability about them. A rebel reacts. A rebel oftentimes is hot-tempered or they can be very, very cautious. But he says don't even associate with them.

They don't belong in our friendships. Then there's the person who is self-indulgent. Look if you will in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Proverbs. Twenty-eighth chapter.

And notice if you will in the seventh verse. He said, He who keeps the law is a discerning son. That is, one whose life is under control. But he who is a companion or friend of gluttons humiliates his father. That is, here's somebody whose life is not in control.

They are not disciplined. Now this does not refer just to eating for the simple reason. Usually when we think about gluttonous, we think about just eating. But a person who is out of control, for example, a person who lusts. Lust is desire out of control. We all have desires, good desires that God places in our hearts.

And that desire when it's completely out of control becomes lustful so that you're driven by your desire rather than just simply having a desire. He said don't associate with those people. Don't have them as your friends. Then if you look at the twenty-ninth chapter of the Proverbs and notice what he says here. Twenty-ninth chapter beginning in verse three. He says don't associate, don't build a friendship with an immoral person.

Look at this. A man or woman who loves wisdom makes his father or her father glad. But he or she who keeps company with immoral people.

Here it's a man speaking with harlots. Immoral people waste their wealth. He says you don't develop friendships with people that you know are immoral. Somebody says well you know they can do what they want to do. I'm going to do what I want to do and they're not going to influence me. You think about this for a moment. Every single one of us have our five senses. And we all have a nature that is temptable and we can all disobey, choose to be disobedient to God.

Now let me ask you a question. Which way does human nature move? Does it move upward toward God or does it move away from God?

Human nature is always moving away from God. That's why he says you avoid these kind of friendships because these kind of friendships will ultimately drag you down. As he says here, waste your time or waste your life. You go to the fifth chapter and sixth chapter of Proverbs. Whole chapters or most of those chapters are about immorality. And so he says you don't develop friendship with a person that you know to be immoral when your peers say, well look, you know it's not going to hurt you and after all just one time we're here or they are going here and so forth.

Just I mean after all what happens is this. You violate the passage of Scripture says you don't have fellowship. You don't build intimate relationships with immoral people. And then of course he says let me just mention one other and that is a fool. Look in the thirteenth chapter if you will, thirteenth chapter of the Proverbs. And notice if you will in verse twenty. He who walks with wise men will be wise but the companion or the friend of fools will suffer harm. A fool has pushed God out of their life. They're not interested in spiritual things. And the book of Proverbs says that they are arrogant for example and oftentimes extremely careless and indifferent. So you don't want to run with people, walk with people, build friendships with people who are foolish in their thinking and who have left God out of their life. Now with that in mind, very, very clear discussion from the Scriptures.

We have to watch this. Why? Because of the influence they have in our life. Now so let's think for just a moment about the whole idea of what causes, that is what causes our relationships, what causes our friendships to fall apart? What causes two people who really have a good friendship, something happens and before long, what's going on? You think you feel yourself becoming more and more distant.

What's going on? Well, friendships don't just happen. Somebody says, well I met this friend and we just, we suddenly had this wonderful friendship. No, you met that person and you may have developed a relationship but real, genuine, true, lasting friendships are things that we develop in life.

They don't just happen. You may meet somebody and you happen to like them at that moment, their personality or whatever it might be. Then there are some people who may meet you, who want to develop a friendship with you but what's their motivation?

What is their real motivation? You see, friendships, true, genuine friendships are able to discern the motivation of the other person. And so it takes building blocks in two people's lives to make a true, genuine relationship and friendship.

So what I'd like to do, I just want to run through these rather quickly. Let's talk about those building blocks. Now, let's think about it for a moment. When we build a relationship or friendship with someone, we want it to last. And so therefore, if we want it to last, we want it to blossom, we want it to bloom, we want it to bloom into an enjoyable relationship, a very satisfying relationship, a lasting relationship. That is, friendships are extremely valuable. Think about this, no matter what you have, what you possess, how long you possessed it, who you are, if you don't have any friends, there's something terribly missing in your life. And you feel it. You may not even want to be a friend to anyone. Maybe you don't trust anybody. But what you've done is while you've shut them out, you've shut yourself in. And so it takes building blocks to build great friendships.

And so what are those building blocks? Well, number one, one of the most important ones is time. If you're going to be a friend to someone or if you're going to develop a friendship, it takes time. That is, you've got to be willing to spend time with them. Now, I will admit that I've probably lost some friends in life for the simple reason that I've had to say to them, I don't have time. Maybe I didn't, maybe I did, but if I did not, it was either because I didn't value that relationship, maybe as I should have, or maybe I knew that I didn't have time, but for a few real, true, genuine friends, you really don't. If you're a busy person, you don't have time for lots of friends, but first of all, you're not going to gain lots of friends anyway.

So you better major on the few that you do have. And so it takes time. It takes time to build relationships. So if you're going to have a true genuine friend, you've got to decide it's going to take time. I want to spend time with him or with her.

I want to listen to them. And so the first ingredient of the first building block is time. The second one is talk. When you get a person talking or let's say you and your friend begin to talk, it doesn't make a difference what subject it's about. The more they talk, here's what happens. You peer into their heart. You peer into their mind what they think. You peer into their heart what they feel.

You peer into their very soul and their very spirit. And before long, you know what, you know that person. Now, sometimes the more you know about a person, the more you love them. And sometimes the more you know about them, the less you love them.

But that's because human personality is a difference and people have different interests in life and some people just hard to get along with. But what I want you to see is you've got to talk. True genuine friends have to talk to each other.

And then the third building block is tears and laughter. If you're going to be a real genuine friend to someone, there are going to be times when you're going to cry with each other. Because you're going to talk and you're going to tell them how you feel. Your feelings have been hurt, maybe by them or somebody else. And so there are going to be times when you have to cry.

There are tears. Then there are times when you're going to laugh. But if you're not willing to talk and you can't cry together and you can't laugh together, you're not going to have a real true friend. And that demands something of us. Then there are those, shall we say, triumphs in life.

Those times when you're able to share with each other some good thing that happened in your life. Some difficulty would go into it and you'd say, let me tell you what happened. I asked the Lord to give me direction. I didn't know what in the world to do.

And let me tell you what He did. This is when you sort of share what God's doing in your life with each other. Those triumphs. And then you also share the trials and the tragedies in life. Those difficult things you go through. And the times when you just want to sit down and talk to somebody and say, you know what? I just need to unburden and unload. Think about this for a moment. Now if you're listening, say amen.

I know you are. Listen to this. If you don't have a friend you can talk to, when you have hurts and difficulties and hardships and disappointments and pain, when you're going through sorrow in your life, if you don't have a close intimate friend, I can tell you this. It's not good on your health. You say, what's it got to do with my health?

When you stuff it and you cram it and you jam it and you keep it on the inside, you don't think that affects your health, you keep it up and you'll find that it will. There's something about crying that is extremely healthy. There's something about emptying your heart and your soul and your mind and your spirit to someone. There's nothing wrong with tears and there's nothing wrong with laughing and there's nothing wrong with sharing our trials and our triumphs. And then there's something else, another one of those building blocks is tolerance.

If you have a friend, if you have a genuine friendship, you're going to have to tolerate some things. I've heard this story over and over and over again. And this past week I sat and listened to a man tell a story. He told the whole story, the whole thing. I've heard it ten times if I've heard it once. And you know what? I said this, mm-hmm, hey, man, I mean, I just made him feel like I'd heard it for the first time.

So when that was over with, we all sort of looked at each other and smiled, went on to the next subject. You know what? You tolerate. And then, of course, you tolerate some things that are not so pleasing. You tolerate their ugly attitude. You tolerate some things they say that hurt your feelings. Or you tolerate attitudes that you know are not becoming to them or to you. So we all have to put up with each other about things. And the truth is if you're looking for a perfect friend, you'll never find one. You know why? Because you'll never be one.

There's no such thing as a perfect friend. But there are some building blocks that are very important. Another one of those building blocks is transparency.

And this is where a lot of folks, they stop right here. Well, I handle the touching and I handle the laughing and I handle the crying. But this transparency business, you mean I'm to spill it all out? No, that's not what I said. Transparency means I'm willing to open my heart, tell you what I'm feeling, tell you when I'm hurting, tell you when I'm angry, tell you when I feel misunderstood, tell you when I feel rejected, tell you when I feel happy, tell you what's really motivating me, tell you what's turned me on.

I'm so excited about what's going on. If you can't be transparent, you can't have a friendship. You can have sort of a close relationship, but true genuine friendship means you're transparent. And then of course there's truthfulness. If a person's not honest with each other, you can't build a friendship on not being truthful with one another. Sometimes you may say things that you think is the truth. You thought was the truth.

That's one thing. You can say, you know what, I'm sorry, I made a mistake, here's what I heard, here's what I thought. But just to absolutely be totally untruthful, voluntarily, deliberately, willfully, to manipulate somebody, that is a building block that is absolutely essential, that I'll be absolutely honest.

I may have to say, you know what, I blew it bad, I'm sorry. But at least be honest about it. Sometimes friends don't even know when they can't be honest with themselves. If you can't be honest with yourself, then sometimes that's difficult. Especially if you don't want to face up to something.

We've all been there. There haven't been times, I'm sure, when I didn't want to face up to something in myself that I would deny it. And therefore, as a result, I wouldn't be truthful. Now, if you ask me if I told the truth, absolutely. But if you deny something about yourself, you can say it's truthful, but the truth is it's not truthful. And so your friend says, that's not the truth about you. That's not what you really like. Then you have to decide, am I going to be transparent?

And say, well, you know what, you probably see something I don't see and I need some help. So here are some building blocks. And I want you to just jot those down because I think they'll be helpful now. If you could put it in one word, what do all these building blocks add up to? One four-letter word, what is it? Love. Because you see, if you go down that list and you think about talking with someone, laughing with them, being transparent with them. If you think about all the things we've talked about, all that adds up, that I love you.

That's what it says, I love you. Now, I don't know where you are in your friendships, but I can tell you this. What you've heard in this message can make all the difference in the world if you value friendships. And if you wouldn't forget yourself and you're willing to give it all you've got, you'll build friendships and relationships that will last.

Listen, not just the silver ones, but the gold ones, that is those that you'll treasure till the day you die. Thank you for listening to Troubled Friendships. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-22 21:30:43 / 2022-11-22 21:39:33 / 9

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