By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
As the saying goes, “show me who you hang out with and I can tell you something about yourself”. This is because we traditionally hang out with people we are comfortable being around. Comfort can be derived in many ways, but the most common form of comfort is acceptance of who we are. This is not to say everything our friends take part in is a direct reflection on us, but it is saying people who frequently disagree with each other tend to have fewer interactions.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV): Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
We should not be confused by the notion we can have friends we disagree with on a core level. Our core values should be something we are unable to compromise; so each time a core disagreement arises, it will likely be a point of contention. If it is not an issue, then it is reasonable to conclude one of the participant’s core values have changed or it was never a core value to begin with. Much the same as siblings or a spouse will inherit characteristics of their loved ones; we will absorb tendencies based on who we surround ourselves with. This is part of the reason we often see the Bible telling us to limit our interaction with divisive and ungodly people.
Romans 16:17 (ESV): I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
If we maintain good character, bad company will not want anything to do with us. Shining a light in a world of darkness is the surest way to have a limited amount of friends and an abundance of adversaries.
John 15:18-19 (NIV): If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Jesus wanted to make sure His disciples knew if they lived as He did, the world would hate them. The passage also holds true for us today; if we live as the world lives, the world will welcome us with love. The people we befriend are a direct representation of this passage. If they are a part of the world and they befriend us, then we may be a part of the world or at least accepting of it. We should take no part in ungodly acts, but use our interactions to expose them (Ephesians 5:11). If we speak truth in love as Jesus did and shine our light, we will be able to influence those around us for the better. This leads us back to the opening statement; show me who your friends are and I will tell you something about yourself. The question for each of us to answer is whether that represents our understanding of ourselves, and if not, what can we do to change?