God’s List of People to Avoid

That doesn’t sound very nice, does it? But the Bible is very clear and specific when it speaks to us about who to befriend… and who to avoid! Here’s a short look at God’s list of people to reject as friends. As you read through these verses, make a note about the speech, character, or conduct of those who are not to be your friends and the negative effects they can have on you.

  • He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20).
  • Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go (Proverbs 22:24).
  • I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person (1 Corinthians 5:11).
  • Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?… Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
  • Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Did anyone come to mind? Are there a few people who should not be in your life right now? Is there a friend or family member with whom you should establish some boundaries or emotional distance? Establishing boundaries does not mean that you cut people out without explanation or rudeness. Perhaps discussing with them why you can no longer be in their company or join in their activities will influence them, rather than the other way around.

And, then there are situations when truly you must cut ties with a particular person entirely. This may feel like a daunting task that is easier to just avoid. But believe me, it is truly better to have no friend but Jesus rather than have the wrong friends!

Question: Who’s in your crowd? Is Jesus a part of it?

Friendships are important to us all at any age. For more encouragement in seeking the right friendships read my book, A Woman’s Guide to Right Choices. To help your children also choose their friends wisely, see our new resources for youth, including A Girl After God’s Own Heart and A Boy After God’s Own Heart.


  1. Curious. How do you respond to the people who say Jesus ate with sinners and he calls us to love everyone. How can you minister to someone if you dont befriend them? We were all once all of those things (atleast some of them) and someone befriended us and introduced us to Christ, right? Just curious how you would respond to that. Also, if you are married and you thought your spouse was a believer, but, now, not sure because they practice some of the behaviors listed below, we are called to stay with them. This probably includes a lot of family members who you cannot shun, or can you, and should you? Just curious about your thoughts on this. Thanks

    • I guess you can treat people with respect even if you don’t “befriend” them and invite them into the inner sanctum of your life, so to speak. In the times of the early church, Paul and Peter would preach to entire crowds of people, most of whom they didn’t know, so I guess its not necessary to be good friends with people to evangelise them. Still, I am interested to hear Elizabeth’s response too – I have definitely got some relationships in my life that I have ended because they ended up being too destructive, and I sure need help with this very issue.

  2. I think this is a lesson you have to be careful how you teach it. All to often I see Christians play these verses to excuse their resentfulness towards sinners. They preach these verses, so they don’t have to be friendly, kind and loving to sinners. And which God commands we love everyone. Jesus befriended sinners. These verses are meant to show who we keep as close friends who we would seek advise from, or who could deeply influence us. That does not mean we can not respect, be kind and loving and even invite sinners into our homes.
    I heard these verses preached and whole sermons devoted to them, with the whole message of “Avoid Sinners and unbelievers!They cause you to stumble and sin!”
    1.) Jesus commanded we go out into the world preaching his world and loving everyone.
    2.) Sinners don’t cause us to sin. We chose to sin. Sinners can influence, but in the end, we are the ones who committed the sin by choice. We ourselves, Believers are still sinners too!
    These verses and many others are to be read as a whole and in the whole context. Not nitpicked down so you can avoid being around people you think are not good enough, or you define that sin to much.
    So saying these are the people we avoid is wrong. These verses means we don’t purposely go out to find these people to be a huge influence. Like you probably would not go to your old college roommate who divorced because he had multiple affairs, for marriage advise.; or hang around him when you are trying to save your marriage. But we go out and befriend, hoping God works his power through us.

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