Being A Friend

I began blogging about friendships on Monday. We need so much help in this area, don’t we? On the surface, a friendship may seem harmless or alright when in fact it may really be harmful and the other woman can be detrimental to your life in both practical and spiritual ways. I thought I would  help you with a few amusing characterizations of the kind of “friends” you should avoid. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 

Hostage-taking Hannah 
This kind of friend is very selfish and wants all of your time. Hannah does not respect your time and does not understand appropriate boundaries. While she may tell you she wants “just a few minutes” on the phone or after church, she will attempt to monopolize your day. If you tolerate it you will realize there is always one more thing, one more problem, one more story. She is usually the last to leave any gathering and others tend to avoid her. 

Hannah also does not want you to be friends with anyone else. She gets upset when she learns you are doing things with other people and thinks she should be a part of nearly every activity you are a part of. This is very self-centered and is more hostage taking than friendship.  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Penelope Problem 
A friend like Penelope doesn’t know how to talk about anything other than her problems. From the moment you sit down across from her with your double vanilla ripple-dipple skinny latte she begins to lament about the people and problems in her life. It is an unending litany of woe broken only when she has to inhale or use the restroom.  Penelope is not interested in solutions to the dilemma’s she brings to the table, she is only interested in venting. This is also very selfish and puts you in the position of being her full-time counselor and not her friend.  A fool expresses all his emotions, but a wise person controls them. Proverbs 29:11 

Discontented Debbie
Debbie is a dangerous kind of friend to have because she is discontent. Usually women like Debbie are never pleased or satisfied with anything. Debbie is a grumbler and a complainer and refuses to see the positive side or the blessings she has received. She doesn’t want to hear about how God has graced her with more than she deserves, she is only focused on what she does not have. Debbie is ungrateful. In some way she believes she is entitled to more than what she has been given. This way of thinking is infectious and Discontented Debbie is someone to give a wide berth. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4

Angry Abbie
Abbie is an angry woman. Depending on the situation she explodes into an angry rage or stuffs it all inside. Snarky and sarcastic comments are the norm with Abbie, and most people walk away from a conversation feeling bruised. Be careful around women like Abbie; anger is catchy, and if you spend enough time around someone who is perpetually angry you will find yourself becoming like her. Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, Proverbs 22:24


Fearful Fran
Fran knows her friends struggle with the kinds of sinful patterns of living written about in this blog post. She doesn’t say anything to them and soothes her guilty conscience by telling herself things like, “Who am I to judge?”  Fran is content to let sinners go on sinning without confrontation because to get involved in the lives of other women might expose her own sin, it might require her to make some changes in her own life, and it might move her out of her comfort zone. For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7 

Friends, I suspect we all know women who fit these descriptions. We must be wise in our friendships because we tend to feed off of each other when we spend time together. It is right to lovingly rebuke and correct such women because we want them to grow and change into Christlike character! What a shame it is that women who struggle with these sinful character flaws remain in their sin because no one is willing to speak truth into their lives. Be a friend, love enough to confront. 

About The Author

Julie Ganschow has been involved in biblical counseling and discipleship for more than 25 years. She is passionate about heart change for life change. Julie is a gifted counselor and teacher, has authored numerous books and materials for biblical counseling, and co-authored a biblical counseling training course. She is a featured contributor in GriefShare and a frequent retreat and conference speaker. Julie is the founder and director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center and Biblical Counseling for Women. She has been writing a daily blog about women’s counseling issues since 2008. Julie holds a doctorate in biblical counseling, in addition to an M.A. in biblical counseling and certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). She also serves on the Council Board for the Biblical Counseling Coalition. She makes her home in Kansas City, Missouri with her wonderful husband Larry. You can find her blog at bc4women.org and information about her ministries at rgcconline.org.

Being a Friend

 A danger of the single life is isolation. Because our churches are (sadly) often geared around families our unmarried people are left to fend for themselves for fellowship and friendship. Women’s Bible Studies are frequently focused on marital issues. If there is a “Singles Group” it is mixed and can (and often does) become a social group to find a spouse. Small Groups and Community Groups are usually couples or families and the Singles are lumped in with them. This leaves our precious unmarried women without a peer group to whom they can relate. Is it any wonder they seek friendships outside the church, or isolate and have few or even no friends?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” This is a secular statement, but a true one nonetheless. One pitfall single women land in is to think they have nothing in common with their married counterparts. This is part of what I believe drives them away from women’s fellowship activities. They give up on ministering to and serving other women because they are focusing on themselves. The thinking goes something like this: “I have nothing in common with them. They have nothing to offer me so why should I go or participate?”
This thinking is erroneous and reveals a heart that is focused on “self.”  This thinking completely disregards Philippians 2:1-8 with a special emphasis on verses 3-4
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Every person is to seek ways they can serve others, putting the needs of fellow Christians ahead of their own.  You may think that you will not be missed if you avoid other Christian women, but the Lord has encouraged single women to be active participants in the Body.  You have things to offer to other women, and it is part of your responsibility to determine what that looks like.
You can be an example of godliness to other women in many ways if you are an active part of the church. Your life speaks volumes even when your mouth is silent.  What you participate in, how you serve, what you do with the gifts God has given you all are a silent testimony to others.  Do you work well with others? Are you temperamental and difficult to get along with?  Must everything always be your way for you to serve? Is having you a part of a project a blessing to others or is it more of a burden?
If upon reflection you find that your life’s witness is not what it ought to be, you still have time to change that. Sign up and participate at the next opportunity and determine to be a blessing to those you serve. Take instruction and pray the Lord will help you with a servant’s heart.
You can be an example of godly speech.  Like any other woman, you hold the power of life and death in your tongue. (James 3:2-12)  Your speech is a powerful indicator of the condition of your heart.  Scripture says it actually reveals the contents of your heart (Matt. 12:34) and for some women that is a frightening thought indeed!  Be an example by not gossiping about others. Be an example by giving grace to those who hear you speak (Col. 4:6).  Is your speech pleasant or is it full of complaining and discontentedness at your singleness? Are you grumbling and complaining about where God has you in life?
If upon reflection you determine that you have some cleanup work to do in your speech, there is no time like the present to make this right.  Confess your sin to those you have subjected to your unwholesome speech and ask their forgiveness and then ask for their help.  Humility is a wonderful character trait to cultivate.
You see, you have to reach out into the church and allow others to reach out to you. You have to be willing to take the risk and reach out to others and make friends.  As I have said before, your fellow Christians are tools in the hands of God to sharpen you. They are used by Him to blast off the rough edges and to conform you into His image and likeness.  Consider these things…pray on them…focus on others, trust God and make a friend. 

About The Author

Julie Ganschow has been involved in biblical counseling and discipleship for more than 25 years. She is passionate about heart change for life change. Julie is a gifted counselor and teacher, has authored numerous books and materials for biblical counseling, and co-authored a biblical counseling training course. She is a featured contributor in GriefShare and a frequent retreat and conference speaker. Julie is the founder and director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center and Biblical Counseling for Women. She has been writing a daily blog about women’s counseling issues since 2008. Julie holds a doctorate in biblical counseling, in addition to an M.A. in biblical counseling and certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). She also serves on the Council Board for the Biblical Counseling Coalition. She makes her home in Kansas City, Missouri with her wonderful husband Larry. You can find her blog at bc4women.org and information about her ministries at rgcconline.org.

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We are not a licensed counseling agency, nor are we psychologically or medically trained therapists. We offer ‘pastoral’ counseling intended to bring life change through heart change.