Rule 3 / Make friends with people who want the best for you

Peterson relates the personal history of his mostly unhealthy teenage friendships. He was pleased to make better friendships when he moved away from his hometown to further his educational and career opportunities. He assumed this was what everyone did when they were presented with an opportunity for a fresh start. He discovered that this isn’t the case. Some continue to make poor friendship choices all their lives. As Peterson reflected on this, he believes it generally happens when people have poor self-esteem or refuse to take responsibility for their life.

Another reason some people make poor friendship choices is that they believe they can help or rescue their friends. Peterson believes this is rarely effective and often results in unhealthy outcomes for the one trying to help. He asks his readers if we have any friends we wouldn’t recommend for our siblings, our children or our parents? If so, why are we continuing the friendship?

However, knowing what’s best for us isn’t sufficient motivation to choose better friendships.

From a Christian perspective, the Bible has much to say about making wise choices when we are finding friends (for example Proverbs 12:26; 18:24; 22:24). Jesus was called a friend of sinners but he wasn’t dragged into their unhealthy lifestyles as Peterson points out. Instead, Christ enables those who were willing to move away from unhealthy relationships. Since Christians have Christ’s Spirit within them, we are enabled to help others without following their bad choices. Scripture also encourages us to build caring relationships with other Christians.

Click for: Peterson’s 2nd Rule for Life