(Jennifer Leclaire) False friends. The Bible has plenty to say about them—and you’ve probably had one or two yourself. Of course, you probably didn’t know they were false when you first befriended them or you wouldn’t have put yourself through the grief! In my role as editor of Charisma magazine, I’ve met my fair share of false friends. They usually walk in my life with a big smile on their face, suggesting they can lift my load, open new doors or be a confidential sounding board. I’ve fallen for it once or twice, but after getting a third-degree friendship burn, I learned how to spot false friends from a mile away. I’m not flowing in suspicion, mind you. I’m operating out of discerning of spirits and what I’ve learned from past experience. I also lean heavily on the Word of God, which, as I mentioned, has plenty to say about the topic. Here are at least five ways to discern false friends.

1. False friends bear rotten fruit. “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit” (Matt. 7:15-17).

This verse mentions false prophets, but you can identify a false friend with a fruit inspection just the same. False friends make a lot of promises but don’t do the works to back up their words. False friends may tell you what you want to hear with words smooth as butter (Ps. 55:21) to get on your good side because they want something from you, but when you need them, they are nowhere to be found. READ MORE