Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good habits.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals. (NASB)
Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character. (NIV)
No matter what version of the Bible you use, the message is still loud and clear: if you spend time with ungodly people, their habits and practices will rub off on you. So often today we seem to believe that it's good for us to be friends with ungodly people, because we believe that we'll be able to change them. My father often reminds us of how untrue this is-instead of us influencing them, they will influence us. It doesn't matter how strong you think you are when it comes to standing up for the Lord and resisting temptation, the way your ungodly friends act is exactly the way you will start acting if you don't do something to stop the friendship. It is biblical to be friendly to these people, but we are not to be friends with them.
The choosing of friends is so important and it is crucial that we practice wisdom and discernment in this process. Before spending much time with a person and calling them your friend, there are some questions that you must ask yourself first. These questions include the following: "Is this person known to be godly and upright or impure and ungodly?" "Is this person an encourager and edifyer?" "When I'm with this person, does he/she encourage me to stand up for the Lord and follow Him in everything?" "What kinds of things does this person like to spend his/her time doing, and are these habits godly or unrighteous?" "If I had a child, would I want my child to spend time with this person and be friends with him/her?" "What kind of movies, music, tv shows and books is this person interested in?" If any warning signals go off in your head during this questionnaire, then it is best to just keep this person as an aquaintance and not as a dear friend.
With friends that you already have, these are also questions that you need to ask yourself about that person. And once again, if warning signals go off in your head, then it is best to stop the friendship. "But this person will be mad at me!!" you might say. Well, let me ask you this: Is it more important what this person thinks of you, or whether or not you're obeying the Lord? Having ungodly friends hurts our witness for the Lord, and is therefore sinful. Ask the Lord for strength and the right words to say if/when you are forced to break off a friendship with someone. He will help you and be there with you, and thus you have nothing at all to fear. It will be hard and sad to break off a friendship, but this is something that sometimes we must do. And the Lord will give us the strength to do His will.