What do you do when you find yourself in a toxic friendship?

Pastor J.D. explains the three concentric circles of friendship—care, influence, and intimacy—and gives wisdom for how to approach relationships in each one, especially those affected by negativity.

A glimpse inside this episode:

Part of this depends on what kind of “friend” we’re talking about:

  • Three concentric circles—care, influence, intimacy
    • In the innermost circle, intimacy, you have a small group of friends—probably just three or four—that profoundly shape you, and vice versa. If you’re married, your spouse goes in this circle. These are people that share the ultimate convictions you have. These are the ones that forecast your future—and it would take a lot for you to “break up” with them, so to speak.
    • In the next circle, influence, you have a larger number of friends. You influence them, and they influence you—not as deeply as your closest friends but still in meaningful ways.
    • In the outermost circle, care, you have the largest number of friends, including more casual acquaintances. These are people that you love and care for. You legitimately want the best for them and are willing to sacrifice for them, sometimes in stunning ways.

When it comes to It’s wise to have different ways of assessing our relationships based on which circle we’re talking about.

  • In my relationship with my wife, who is in that innermost circle, there will never be a time when her “negative impact” on me makes me say, “Well, you know what, this is just too draining.”
    • But in the “care” circle, there are going to be times when it’s best to say, “This isn’t healthy for either of us.” God doesn’t want us in toxic relationships, relationships where the net result is leading both people further into sin.
  • Helpful principle—first sinner, second sinned against.
  • Another helpful principle—”turn the other cheek” (and what that actually means)
    • Neither of these mean we always allow others to hurt us. But this should be the baseline for how we approach our friendships.
  • Resources from Brad Hambrick on jdgreear.com.
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