Circle of Trust
3 Signs of a True Friend
What are the 3 signs of a true friend? Who should we include in our “circle of trust?”
Do you have a difficult time trusting people? Or do you trust people blindly and then find yourself in precarious positions? Experts say we are the combination of the five people we spend the most time with.
Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character. -1 Corinthians 15:33
So, how do we decide who that should be? We have found three areas to ponder when making that decision.
We call it the “Circle of Trust.” You can call it whatever you or don’t name it at all. It’s the place we keep our true friends, a small group of people in our lives that we trust completely and consider to be our closest friends, family and confidants. We open our hearts, homes and souls to them and believe they have our best interest in mind. Their lives are appropriately aligned with ours. They are TRUE friends.
In the beginning of our marriage, we didn’t understand this concept at all. We let everyone in. People that we hardly knew had influence over us. I, personally, would tend to seek everyone’s approval, no matter who they were. We generally assumed that people were by nature good and we didn’t have boundaries with anyone.
If you know anything about our story, it’s clear that way of life did not serve us well. After the breakdown of our marriage, we learned that boundaries needed to be placed, God’s design needed to be followed , and we needed people close to us that would genuinely love us and help us through it.
Thus began the circle of trust. We learned, through God’s word, what a true friend is. Thankfully, He’s quite clear on the topic. So, let’s dive in.
1. True friends share your beliefs.
This is the first and most important of the 3 signs of a true friend. If you believe the sky is red and I believe it’s blue, how can we possibly share views on anything else? When we don’t agree on something so paramount, it’s impossible to trust other opinions and actions. As a believer in Jesus as Savior and Lord, how can you possibly have a non-believer speaking deeply into your life? They don’t share the same truths, standards, and principles that you hold to be true.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17
It’s not that we can’t have non-believers in our life, but they do not belong in the “circle of trust.” Those that are closest to us should hold our same beliefs and values. If not, we place ourselves in a very vulnerable, dangerous position of being swayed toward a way of life that we know to be far from God.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. -Proverbs 13:20
I know of a couple that were very close with their neighbors, a couple that did not share their beliefs. In a series of unfortunate events, one spouse had an affair with another. Families were torn apart. Lives were forever altered. I can’t guarantee that wouldn’t have happened if the two couples were both believing unions, but I am certain the chances were much less likely.
Even as believers, we are still sinful by nature. But we have a responsibility to place protective barriers to the enemy. One such boundary is to only include those that follow our same set of standards, moral values, and faith into the circle of trust. This is a proven truth about trustworthy friends.
2. True friends love consistently.
Consistent love is the 2nd of 3 signs of a true friend. This may seem obvious, but I bet you have people close to you that are less than enjoyable. There is nothing joyful or peaceful about them. One day they love you. The next day, they are talking about you behind your back. Why would we choose to place toxic, unreliable, needy, angry people in our inner circle? If you have friends that you have kept in your inner circle that literally suck the life out of you, it’s possibly time to set some serious boundaries. You do not have to keep toxic friends (or even family) in the place you hold most sacred…a place that should include honesty, love, peace and joy.
And let us consider how we might spur one another on toward love and good deeds, -Hebrews 10:24
It doesn’t mean you have to kick them out of your life or have some big, dramatic conversation about how they have negatively affected you. (although, if you are holding a grudge or there’s a situation that should be addressed directly, follow God’s design for conflict in Matthew 5:23-24) You can simply make choices that keep that person at bay, so to speak. Set boundaries. Do not consult them on important matters. Limit your time with them.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. -Proverbs 15:13
An abundant life, a life to the full, is spent worshiping God. If you are not able to worship God with freedom and joy when you are with certain people, it’s time to make some changes. If you are not experiencing consistent love from someone (including tough love!), why are you keeping them close? True friends love consistently. When you focus on this proven truth in God’s word, you can make choices to include trustworthy friends.
3. True friends hold you accountable.
A true friend will give you tough love when necessary. We do not need friends who always agree with us, especially when we are making poor choices. Friends who share our belief system and will help us to stay on God’s path. We need people in our circle of trust who will call us out, lead us toward wise choices, and support us as we navigate difficult territory.
True friends stab you in the front. -Oscar Wilde
For example, while my husband was in the depths of his affair, he confessed to a close friend of his. That “friend” did nothing. He accepted the information and did nothing to guide Steve on a better path. The affair continued. Months later, my husband confessed to another close friend. (see the cries for help here?) In contrast, this friend said to him “what you are doing is wrong and if you don’t tell Lisa, I will.” Boom. It was only a matter of days until I found out the truth and we began our journey of healing.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. -Proverbs 27:5-6
Which friend would you want in your circle of trust? The answer is simple, don’t you think? True friends hold you accountable.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. -Proverbs 12:18
We can use these three signs of a true friend as a way to decide, together with our spouse, who belongs in our circle of trust. A true friend will lead you toward God, not away from Him.
A true friend shares your beliefs, loves consistently, and holds you accountable.