A number of years ago before our younger son graduated from the local university, his mother and I had an evening out that we laugh about to this day. It was not unusual for us to go to the college campus in the late afternoon to ride our bikes. On this particular day we ended our ride on the part of the campus known as the strip. This is where all the coffee and ice cream shops are located. And we’ll just say it is also the location of other establishments.
On this day we were enjoying our coffee but noticing how wild the establishment across the street seemed to be. The rooftop lounge was standing room only. The dress of many of the girls was what I would call provocative. The guys were loud and rambunctious. With the spirits of an earthly nature, they all seemed to be living it up.
My wife made the comment that she couldn’t believe that was the environment in which our younger son lived each day. That prompted her to call him just to check in with him. When she began describing the scene and where we were, the conversation turned. We were scolded to no end.
I remember it was like the parent child relationship had reversed. “What are ya’ll doing on the strip today? This is Cinco de Mayo!” Yes, I failed to mention or even realize that it was May 5. I really don’t think that made much difference. I figure it was pretty much that way any other day. But let’s just say there was a lot of partying going on that day. I remember him saying that was no place for us to be and for us to get out of there.
As I remember this Cinco de Mayo story and think of all those young college kids, I am also reminded of a truthful statement I saw recently. If you hang out with the wrong people, in the wrong places, sooner or later you will do the wrong thing.
Influence. We all have it and we are all subject to it. Influence can be good or bad. The people with whom we surround ourselves will have an impact on our behavior. Hanging out with the wrong people in the wrong places will rarely influence us to do good.
Scripture has many examples of this truth. Consider the following.
Mark 6 contains the account of King Herod beheading John the Baptist. It came about because of a rash vow the king made. The king was exceedingly sorry yet he carried out the execution. And the Scriptures state it was because of those who sat with him (verse 26). Note, his behavior was driven by the influence of those around him even to the point of going against his own wishes.
Amnon and Jonadab’s friendship in 2 Samuel 13 describes the sordid story of Amnon’s rape of his half-sister Tamar. This action was suggested and even encouraged by his friend Jonadab. Some friend?! We should choose our friends carefully because they have an influence on our thinking and actions.
1 Corinthians 15:33 is one of four verses in the Bible in which we are cautioned “Do not be deceived.”
What is it that we are at risk of being deceived in this verse? We deceive ourselves to think that bad behavior in our associations doesn’t have an effect on us. The rest of the verse in the following translations reads:
NKJ – Evil company corrupts good habits.
ESV – Bad company ruins good morals.
NEB – Bad company is the ruin of good character.
The Bible agrees that if you hang out with the wrong people in the wrong places it will have a negative impact on your behavior. But I also think that if you hang out with the right people, in the right places, sooner or later you will do the right thing. Surround yourself with good friends.
The older I get, the more selective I am of my friends. I would rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies. I’ll leave you to think about that and simply ask GOD to surround me with quarters.