“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24 NIV

Yesterday, we talked about choices, and today, we’ll discuss the signs that inform the choices we make when choosing relationships. One of the earliest lessons we learned as kids was how to read the traffic signs –  Green means go, yellow means ready, and red means stop! 

In today’s world, these colours have been repurposed to suit relationships but still retain their original meaning. While green lights signify that you can go ahead and pursue a relationship or friendship with someone, red flags mean you shouldn’t.  

Every believer should question how they make friends and choose their spouses. What are the practical signs to look out for in a potential friendship or relationship? What characteristics are green lights? And which ones are red flags?  Understanding these signs will profit you in the long run. 

The first thing to know is that as believers, we do not see relationships through the lens of the world but through God’s word. From our anchor scripture, we can tell that some friends stick closer than a brother. If these friends exist, friends who can make your life miserable also exist.  

Bad friends who are red flags are not always bad people. Someone may be the most morally upright person but still be a bad friend to you because they discourage you from fulfilling your assignment or chasing your dreams. Also, a good friend is not without flaws but is someone who loves you and aligns with God’s assignment for your life. It is important to know the signs so that you can accurately spot them in your potential relationships. 

Remember, there is a difference between white and grey, no matter how similar they may look. Some red flags you should look out for in potential relationships include jealousy and constant criticism, manipulation, negative influence, and lack of support. Red flags in friends also come in the form of them supporting your misbehaviours instead of holding you accountable. If you spot some of these signs in your potential relationships, stay away (I Thessalonians 5: 22-23). These red flags are indicative of toxic relationships that can ruin your life. Some examples of such in the Bible are Delilah and Samson (Judges 16) and Jonadab and Amnon (2 Samuel 13: 3-14).

Greenlight characteristics in potential relationships include shared values and constant support (Ruth and Naomi). Such relationships keep you accountable, encourage and challenge you to be the best version of yourself (Elijah and Elisha). They have empathy, love, kindness, and every other fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23). A perfect example of a great friendship is David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18: 1). 

While navigating relationships, understanding the signs – the green lights and red flags – is crucial. By aligning our choices with God’s word and recognising these indicators, we can cultivate healthy, fulfilling relationships that uplift and support us on our journey of faith and life. 

Bible Reading Plan: Matthew 9: 1-13

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