A solemn black and white image captures the silhouette of a solitary figure, symbolizing isolation and the pain of broken trust, echoing the Bible's warnings about friends turning against you.

What Does The Bible Say About Friends Turning Against You

Having friends turn against you can be extremely painful and leave you feeling betrayed. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering why it occurred and looking for answers from the Bible.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible warns believers that they will face persecution from non-believers, even those close to them. However, it encourages responding with love and forgiveness rather than revenge.

In this article, we will explore several Bible passages that relate to friends turning against followers of Christ. We’ll look at the reasons this occurs, examples from Scripture, and the biblical response.

Reasons Friends Turn Against Believers

Differing Values and Worldviews

When someone becomes a believer in Christ, they adopt a new set of values and a biblical worldview that can put them at odds with friends who don’t share their faith (1 Corinthians 15:33). This can cause friction in the relationship and may even lead to the end of the friendship in extreme cases.

As Jesus said, “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).

For example, a believer may choose to stop engaging in certain activities they once enjoyed with their friends, like gossiping, inappropriate joking, or partying. The believer desires to live a life that honors God, but their unbelieving friends may see this as judgmental.

Differing viewpoints on premarital sex, drug or alcohol abuse, materialism, and other vices can also divide friends over time.

Persecution for Righteousness

Unfortunately, many believers have lost friends simply for following Jesus. In some circles, Christians face ridicule, bullying, and exclusion when they talk about their faith or make biblical choices contrary to social norms.

Jesus told His followers to expect maltreatment and hatred from the world (John 15:18-21). Even close friends may turn against believers who challenge their sinful lifestyles or try to share the gospel out of love.

Standing up for biblical values in the public square – whether at school, work, or on social media – often elicits hostility. Friends may cut ties with Christians who speak an unpopular truth in love, seeing them as offensive.

When there is division over Jesus, we must remember His words: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Our allegiance belongs to Christ.

Examples in the Bible

Job Endures Betrayal

The Old Testament book of Job provides a profound example of remaining faithful even when friends turn against you. Job was a righteous man who suddenly lost everything – his wealth, his family, and even his health. During this immense suffering, Job’s friends came to “comfort” him.

However, rather than providing support, they accused Job of some unknown sin, convinced that he must have done something to deserve such calamity. Despite their hurtful betrayal, Job refused to turn his back on God. He persevered in faith, and God later restored all that Job had lost.

Job’s story reminds believers that even if friends abandon you, God is still good and faithful.

Jesus Faces Rejection

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was rejected by those closest to Him. Even though Jesus came to save people from their sins, most refused to accept Him. The religious leaders of the day turned against Jesus despite His flawless character and miraculous works.

Judas, one of His own disciples, betrayed Him for just 30 pieces of silver. When Jesus was arrested, the other disciples deserted Him, leaving Him alone to face crucifixion. Despite this abandonment, Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself out of love for all humanity.

His resurrection conquered sin and death forever. Jesus perfectly exemplified loving others even when betrayed by friends.

Paul Persecuted by Friends

The apostle Paul faced persecution from people he once considered brothers. Prior to his conversion, Paul hunted down followers of Christ. After encountering the risen Jesus, Paul embraced Christianity wholeheartedly. This dramatic change infuriated Paul’s former allies.

The religious leaders who once worked alongside Paul turned against him, plotting to kill him for preaching about Jesus. Paul was beaten, stoned, imprisoned and shipwrecked for the gospel. Yet he declared, “I have been crucified with Christ.

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Despite unimaginable hardship, Paul rejoiced in pleasing God rather than men.

Biblical Response to Betrayal

Forgive Others

When someone close betrays our trust, it can feel devastating. However, the Bible calls us to forgive others just as God has forgiven us (Matthew 6:14-15). This does not mean instantly trusting the person again.

Forgiveness is an act of the will, by faith in God’s help, that enables us to let go of bitterness and desire for revenge. It is incredibly difficult at times, but Scripture reminds us that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19).

We can pray for the one who hurt us and ask God to change our heart toward them. Forgiveness brings freedom. As Corrie ten Boom said, “Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free and realizing the prisoner was you.”

Bless Those Who Persecute

Betrayal often comes from people close to us – friends, family, brethren in the church. Jesus warned that Christians would be betrayed even by parents, siblings and friends (Luke 21:16). When facing persecution, He instructs us to “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28).

This goes completely against our natural inclination to fight back or withdraw. But when we let go of our right to retaliate and pray for our enemies, we are set free from bitterness. We are called to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

In time, the Lord may even use this to lead betrayers to repentance and reconciliation.

Entrust Situation to God

Ultimately, we can entrust betrayal to a just God who knows all and sees all. David was betrayed by one of his closest friends, but declared “my times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:5). Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the ultimate injustice, but affirmed “the cup the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?”

(John 18:11). God is absolutely sovereign over every detail. When others sin against us, we can rest knowing that nothing takes Him by surprise. He promises to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

The pain is real, but we have hope in God’s purpose if we cast our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). He can redeem any situation of betrayal for our growth in grace.

Cultivating True Friendships

Seek Friends with Shared Values

Finding friends who share your values and beliefs can lead to more meaningful connections. According to a 2021 study, friends with similar worldviews reported higher relationship quality. Searching for friends at places like community centers, volunteer groups, or faith-based organizations increases your chances of meeting like-minded people.

Ask questions early on to gauge if potential friends share your views on important issues like integrity, family, and community involvement. While you don’t have to agree on everything, having some core values in common builds a foundation for true friendship.

Be a Trustworthy Friend Yourself

If you want loyal friends, focus on being loyal yourself. Making time for your friends, keeping their secrets, celebrating their accomplishments, and showing empathy during hard times helps cement bonds.

According to marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman, the basis of all successful relationships is trust. Apply his research findings by responding positively to your friends’ “bids” for attention and resisting criticism. ThisAccepting people despite their flaws demonstrates good friendship in action.

The Golden Rule truly applies here. Treat your friends the way you want to be treated. Go the extra mile in showing you care and will stick by them during good and bad times. Developing a reputation as a kind, supportive person will attract others with similar values.


Experiencing rejection from close friends is undoubtedly excruciating. However, as illustrated in Scripture, this is an unfortunate reality believers may encounter as a result of their faith.

When facing betrayal, the Bible urges responding in love through forgiveness, blessing, and trust in God. Additionally, surrounding oneself with like-minded friends provides comfort and support during difficult trials of faith.

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