“Be not misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
— 1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV
We are all influenced by each other, and our ideas, thoughts and even mannerisms are shaped by the people around us. Who we choose as friends is critical in terms of who we ultimately become. Choosing godly friends will build us up in the faith and help us to become godly. Conversely, choosing ungodly friends will pull us down.
From the beginning of time, peer pressure has been a major factor in leading people astray. The book of Proverbs contains many practical warnings for us. For example, Proverbs 1:10 instructs: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” Solomon goes on to describe how ungodly acquaintances will try to persuade you to join in their activities.
How can we become close friends with such people and not be influenced by them? We can be friends with the ungodly inasmuch as we attempt to be gracious witnesses to them, but certainly we cannot, as children of God, take our cues from them or engage in their wicked activities.
The destructive effect of friendships with the wrong people can be seen in the results of a recent survey of inmates in an Illinois prison. Do you know the main reason for their criminal behavior? Not broken homes, poverty, or lack of positive opportunities in life. The main reason the prisoners cited for their wayward lives was their friends: peer pressure.
Don’t be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. Let’s commit to choosing our friends and associates carefully—even prayerfully.