By: Pastor Chris
“Stay away from fools, for you won't find knowledge on their lips.” Proverbs 14:7 (NLT)
I recently read a fascinating article about friendship. It basically said that just because someone hangs out with you and laughs with you doesn't mean they're really your friend. It went on to say that people are good at pretending to be a friend, but true friendship takes a depth of authenticity only a rare few are capable of. Pay attention. The storms of life usually expose imposters. Perhaps this is where the term fair-weather friend originates. Friends are abundant in the sunshine, but when the rain comes, only the true ones tend to stick around.
Studies have shown that you'll become like the people you hang around the most. The Bible told us this all along. In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul says, “…Bad company corrupts good character.” It's staggering to realize that our friends wield that much power over us. Yet, many of us never take the time to properly evaluate the quality and the character of the people surrounding us.
Bad friends help justify bad behavior. Hanging around the wrong people can cause us to give into temptation and put ourselves in high-risk situations. They can even discourage us from getting the help we need to overcome bad habits. Friends who are dominated by addiction can even push us to become addicted. Perhaps the most valuable lesson to be learned in this type of situation is that these so-called “friends” are not really our friends at all. In fact, it has often been said that misery loves company!
Conversely, good friends make us better. This, too, is a fact the Bible has taught all along. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Good friends challenge us to become good friends. They hold us accountable. They encourage us to make progress and support our efforts to become all God has created us to be. They inspire us to dream big and work hard.
For better or for worse, our closest friends will influence us, so it's important to choose wisely.
This week, ask God to help you take inventory of your closest circle of friends. Spend some time in prayer, deciding who is worth the investment of your friendship.
1. What types of friends are you currently surrounding yourself with? Do they influence you for better or for worse?
2. What's one way you can be a better friend to someone this week?