Sarah and Kelsey are best friends. A year ago, Kelsey walked into Sarah’s dorm room to borrow a textbook from her roommate and noticed Sarah watching her favorite movie. Forty minutes later, after discussing plots lines and rehearsing favorite scenes from the movie, they became fast friends. Slowly, over time, they did everything together—Bible study, accountability partners, and finally, the Facebook profile picture with the label “Besties” made it official.

Sarah and Kelsey began to see their other friends less and less. The ease at which friendship came to them was convenient and fun. They began talking every day, sharing deep emotions and feelings, even praying for one another. Eventually, a day didn’t feel complete until Sarah had talked to Kelsey. When Kelsey had a hard day, she immediately texted Sarah for consolation. She knew Sarah would pray for her anyway. It was hard for them to imagine what life was like before they were best friends.

As the school year came to a close, Sarah and Kelsey made the obvious decision to be roommates the following year. This would save them a lot of texts and phone calls for sure! And how much fun it would be to live together! Though they had a 2-bedroom apartment, they found they were often up late talking or watching movies. So the decision was made to just share a room. Sarah had a queen bed in her room, so Kelsey just slept with her there. They often fell asleep talking. Conversation was as innocent as what professor to take for calculus or where to eat lunch the next day.

Slowly, falling asleep talking became falling asleep holding hands. Holding hands became cuddling. And the moment when Sarah first kissed Kelsey’s forehead goodnight, a flood of feelings were unleashed with such magnitude that neither one saw it coming. They couldn’t stop themselves, and soon sexual encounters became commonplace. While both still discussed their crushes and their desires to marry one day, being together just felt so right. Kelsey began to wonder if she was a lesbian. What did that mean for her as a Christian? What did this mean for her future? How could so much change through just 1 year of friendship?

This is the story of a friendship gone wrong. Somewhere along the way, Sarah and Kelsey began to look to one another for things only God should give: worth, purpose, belonging, and security. This is the story of a co-dependent friendship infected with idolatry.

Would you believe me if I told you this story is based on many real life experiences? I have several friends (and more acquaintances) who have been in a friendship that crept slowly down this slippery slope into co-dependency before they realized something was wrong. Some of these friends found themselves in destructive emotional dependencies, and others in sexual relationships like Sarah and Kelsey’s.

I hope to shed some light on this issue through the next several days to by answering the following questions:

  • What is idolatry?
  • What does the Bible say about idolatry?
  • What is emotional dependency?
  • What are the signs of a co-dependent friendship?
  • What is the true purpose of friendship?
  • What do healthy friendships look like?
  • What can you do if you are in an co-dependent friendship?
  • What are the cultural trends in friendship and how does it affect us?

I pray that through it all, you will catch the vision of an all-satisfying God who has more satisfaction and joy to offer us than we would dare think. And of friendship FOR Jesus; Christian camaraderie that is about getting more of God in our friendships not more of each other.

Writer’s Bio:
Kelly Needham is a servant of Jesus Christ. Wife to Jimmy. Mom to 2 sweet girls.
This article is originally published at www.kellyneedham.com. Used with permission.