My parents often reminded me while growing up that I needed to choose my friends wisely. They were not shy about sharing with me when they did not care for a particular friend or friend group. This often would cause strife between us because I thought I was strong enough to be the “influencer” in my relationships. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that it was easy to fall. A friendship principle of the old west says, “Those we hang with may be the reason we are being hanged” or simply put in today’s terms, we learn behaviors of our friends. For better or worse, our friends greatly influence our decisions and choices.
Today’s wisdom is gleaned from Proverbs 22:24-25, it says “do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.” This is specifically speaking about an angry person but I think that it can be used in general terms, “birds of a feather will flock together.” Simply put, birds congregate with birds of their own species. So, if you surround yourself with friends that are not making the best choices, then you can ultimately find yourself in a similar situation. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”
I liked this illustration of the strength of influence. Take the biggest person in a room and you have them stand on a chair while a smaller person stands next to them. It will be easier for the smaller person to pull the big person down off of the chair than it will be for the big person to lift the small person up on the chair. It just shows that it doesn’t take much to bring you down, even if you think you have strong faith. Proverbs 13:20 says “He that walk with the wise shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Hang out with a brawler, you may get a black eye. Hang out with a drunkard, you may find yourself drinking too much. Befriend a thief and you may find yourself in trouble with the law. But, befriend a wise person and you become wise. Your company determines your character. Show me your friends and I will show you your future.