The Bible on Unreliable Friends
I recently had a ministry friend who I met via email. We made an appointment via email for a first meeting and he failed to show. His excuse was wholly unsatisfactory.
Of course, I forgive. But do I have a duty to try to be friends with such an unreliable person? The answer is the Bible says excise that person from among your friends. Here is the words of wisdom from Solomon in Proverbs:
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NIV.)
As one Christian commentator says of this verse: "The cultivation of friendships indiscriminately can be disastrous." (Jackson, "Wise Counsel About Friendships from the Book of Proverbs.")
A wise man once similarly said: “You need not wonder whether you should have an unreliable person as a friend. An unreliable person is nobody's friend.”
John W. Ritenbaugh in The Forerunner Commentary on Proverbs 18:24 is helpful:
Proverbs 18:24 is a mild caution against having too many friends, of spreading oneself too thin. It is better to have truly good friends who will stick with us through thick and thin. Understood within the context of these four verses is a warning that, if one has too many interests as a result of having too many friends, the one true friendship we can develop with Christ—who really will stick with us through thick and thin—will probably be the one pushed aside. It is better to be loyal to one true friend who is faithful at all times than numerous unreliable ones.
So as you work in ministry, it is crucial your partners are reliable friends. If they prove unreliable, excise them as friends. Do not be guilted into continuing with them because 'Satan' or "demonized" people are supposedly gaining if we do not stick together. No! By sticking together, we will come to ruin. That is what Proverbs 18:24 says. So it is best to learn this early than sadly later on. Say your goodbye, and wish the other well, and pray for them. Seek out reliable friends as ministry partners.