When we think of cultivating healthy friendships, our minds naturally drift towards ensuring our relationships with the opposite sex are God-glorifying. In this episode, Leslie highlights the importance of having edifying, Christ-focused relationships with other women and shares warning signs of unhealthy female relationships and how to guard against the corrosive effects of gossip and manipulation.
Today we are going to answer the question: How do we keep friendships with other women truly God-glorifying and healthy? There is a trend in today’s culture that promotes women going to other women to process their emotions and vent their feelings. When we are not guarded in our relationships, even relationships with other women, we can all too quickly become dependent on people — rather than the Person of Jesus Christ.
Here are a few warning signs to help keep your friendships with women on the right track:
- Falling prey to the urgency mentality
An urgency mentality indicates that there is more of a dependency on people rather than God. When a friend is emphatically and repeatedly reaching out for advice, help, or assistance, it could be a sign that this individual is allowing their emotions to control them or they’re unwilling to get alone with God and pour their heart out to Him. Counseling-based friendships are often formed because of this pattern and prove to be a replacement for the Person of Jesus Christ. Remember that in Psalm 62:8 the Bible mentions that we are to pour our hearts out to Him alone. Encourage your friends to turn to Jesus first.
When we put God in His rightful place by placing boundaries around friendships that distract us from the priorities God has put in our lives, our friendships will be life-giving rather than life-draining. While it might sound more spiritual to be available to others 24 hours a day, this is dangerous when we’re not tending to the responsibilities God has entrusted to us. Be open to God redirecting you to lay down your own agenda but wary of friendships that manipulate you through urgency.
2. Falling Prey to Gossip
Gossip is often spread under the banner of “processing” or “sharing” with others. However, emotional processing and giving advice can be subtly tainted with gossip. This proves to be caustic in friendships and the Body of Christ as a whole. Check your conversations with others. Are you listening to gossip or engaging in gossip under the label of being a “good listener” or needing to “process” with others? Remember, by His marvelous grace it is entirely possible to communicate with others without venturing near the realm of gossip.
3. Falling Prey to a Controlling and Manipulative Spirit
Make it your goal to fasten that other person’s soul to Jesus Christ, not to self. Jesus died to be our mediator and intercessor, and it is always best to lead our friends into His presence rather than make them dependent upon our own. Seek to encourage and point your female friendships toward Jesus rather than pointing back to self.
Practicals for Keeping Female Friendships Healthy
- avoid emotional dependence
- be thoughtful and discreet about what you share with your female friends
- remember that Christ is the only friend that sticks closer than a brother
- practice pouring out your heart to God
- guard physical affection and interaction toward female friends
- promote purity in relationships with female friends just as you would male friends
- place boundaries around time you spend with friends
- purpose to guard your time God’s presence
- practice going places on your own and finding your security in Christ
Check out Leslie’s online course called Godly Discernment, available in our online course library here.