Series: Redemptive Friendships

Part 2: Boundaries and Toxic Traits

Last week, we took a look at some of the traits that we ought to look for in a best friend and our close friends. This week, we’ll take a look at toxic traits in those who want to be in our inner circle. However, a word of caution:

First, everyone’s going to screw up from time to time so be patient with one another. When we take a look at toxic, ungodly traits, we’re really basing our argument to set boundaries when it comes to habitual, unrepentant behavior. So, in other words, godly friends are those who help one another grow, but if there is a refusal to grow in Christ, healthy boundaries are a good thing to establish. Why? Glad you ask.

Second, healthy boundaries are to protect yourself from falling into temptation and protect the other from being enabled in their sin. If a friendship is exhibiting ungodly outcomes, something’s gotta change. It’s either you, the other, or boundaries need to be established. And boundaries does more to LOVE the other than you think.

Third, setting boundaries IS NOT the same as establishing cliques. Cliques does more to harm others than anything. It excludes the other simply because they are not like us.

Ephesians 4:17-32 The Message (MSG)

Be cautious of those who who would rather serve themselves than serve God.

17-19 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

Be cautious of those who lack godly character traits; those who refuse to break away from their old self.

20-24 But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

Be cautious of those who are dishonest.

25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

Be cautious of those who are short-tempered; those who seek revenge.

26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

Be cautious of those who use their words to break you down; those who let unwholesome talk come out of their mouths.

28 Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

Be cautious of those who are pervasive in their language, who slander others and you, those who are insensitive to the needs of others, and those who are quick to unforgive.

31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you