There is no doubt about it, “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) At the beginning of time, God saw fit to warn us about this because whom we let into our lives, is who we become. It’s okay to minister to people and accept people for who they are, but it is another thing to invite those people into your inner circle of friends. Ministering to someone does not require sharing your innermost emotions and desires for your life, friendship does. Ministering to someone does not require sharing daily, everyday life with someone, friendship does. So you can still love people, accept and forgive and not bring them into your circle.

It was not until about three years ago that I started considering who my friends are. Because I am so accepting and forgiving, I allowed any and every one into my circle of friends. It was a series of experiences over time that gave me insight into the reality of the importance of choosing friends wisely. Friends have the ability to help you grow into the best person you can be, but they also have the ability to break you down. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) A friend should bring out the very best you, you can be! They should be supportive of your goals and desires, backing you 100%. They should work with you as a team, giving as much as they take. They should share the same values as you, and strive for excellence as well.

When you have friends like this, your ministry will thrive because you have someone to talk to about your victories and failures, and someone you can share your great ideas and not so great ideas with. Your friends will hold you accountable and even assist you in following through with your awesome ideas! When you have a friend/friends like this, you wake up every day with a sense of love and belonging because you know you have someone who’s got your back 100% and together, one step at a time, you can change the world!

How do you love, accept, and forgive people without letting them into your inner circle? Comment below!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.