We need to ask ourselves a few questions as we go through life. What kind of person do I want to be? How do I want to be seen? Do the kind of people that I hang out with have an effect on those things? Do I need to be careful of who I choose to consider my friend? The answer to all of these is yes, but we do not always see it that way. Maybe when considering the person we are friends with -who is living in sin, we tell ourselves, “They are different,” or “They will not influence me to do bad things.” The fact of the matter is that those we choose as our friends has a massive impact on our lives.
Think of Malchus for example in Luke 22:47-51, named specifically in John’s account. The kind of friends that he had brought him to the position he was in which was to wrongfully arrest the Son of God, and he got his ear cut off by Peter. The very man that he was there to help arrest heals his ear. Do you think he had a realization that he was in the wrong place doing the wrong thing? Do you think it was partially the influence of others that brought him to this present position?
What about Peter? Faithful and loyal to a fault, however making the right decision when he came to the realization that Jesus is the Son of God, He has power in heaven and on earth; (and he messed up) but after the realization, he does come back and make amends. He was around Jesus and the other 11 disciples, trying to make a difference and lead people to Christ. He eventually was an elder in the Lord’s church (1 Peter 5:1). We want this kind of man to be around us.
I asked the teens in Bible class on Wednesday night what kind of characteristics do they look for when they search for friends, and the list was: compassionate, trustworthy, loving, honest, faithful, kind. This was the kind of person that they wanted to be around and with whom they would want a relationship. At the same time I asked them if they would like to be around a person who is known to lie, do drugs, drink alcohol, or make poor decisions, and they responded with no. They understand that having the wrong friends can give us the wrong influences and lead us down the wrong path in life!
We as Christians need to be seeking friendship in those who strive to imitate Christ, a loving, compassionate, trustworthy, kind, faithful person who is willing to put their wellbeing aside for the better of someone else’s physical and spiritual health. Do the adults still find it necessary to take care in who we consider our friends? Now this is not saying that we should not have contact with those who are outside the church, but rather take care with whom we spend time. We still need to convert souls somehow (Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16), and to do that we need to talk to people and get in the community. Lets get to work and glorify God with the decisions we make in our lives!