1 Corinthians 15:33(niv)
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Whether we admit it or not or realize it or not, the people we choose to spend time with and hang around do have an influence on us. It could be a boyfriend or girlfriend, a group of friends at school or work, a spouse, a sibling, a parent, or someone else. Influence works both ways, we can influence others and they can influence us. It also works both ways in the sense that it can be positive or negative, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.
It is important that we surround ourselves with people who love us and care about us and our best interest. It's also important that we are the same to others. We need people in our lives who are going to make us better, be positive, be truthful, be honest with us, and keep us accountable. On the same token, we also need to not allow someone to bring us down, influence us with negative behaviors, or who sucks the joy from our lives.
While I know we can't always pick our parents, our children, or family members, we certainly have a choice in who we pick as friends and who we decide to date and marry. So in places where we have choices, we need to choose wisely. I know every situation and circumstance is different and I can't place a blanket statement across this, but I think we should seek God's counsel and pray for God to help us choose whom we have in our lives and whom we don't.
I can certainly look back on my life and say if I didn't hang out with that person or group of friends or if I didn't date that person I could have avoided a lot of regret, heartache, or bad decisions. But, hopefully we can let the past serve as a teacher to us, so we don't keep making the same poor choices when it comes to who we surround ourselves with.
How many people especially young people dress a certain way, wear their hair a certain way, listen to a certain type of music, or watch certain tv shows and movies, all based on the circle of influence they have in their friends at school? We are allowing others to influence us who do not have our best interest in mind and who may not be making the best choices themselves and hanging out with them could be effecting your grades, morals, values, and decisions.
You should never have to change who you are or what you believe in order to be friends with someone or date/marry someone. We also should never abuse or use our relationship with someone whether spouse, parent, child, relative, or whatever to negatively influence someone else for our own selfish reasons.
My challenge today is simply that each of us strive to be the best person you can be today for yourself and others. That me and you make wise choices in who we let in our lives and who we choose to hang out with and spend time with. That we care what God thinks more than we care what others thinks about us. God is eternal and what He thinks matters, what your friend at school or at work thinks doesn't and they are very temporary.
The key for us is to find our self worth and value in God and not the opinions or influences of others and that we are strong enough and wise enough to choose wisely who we spend time with and surround ourselves with and we are able to discern good and bad and positive and negative people.
May we all first and foremost surround ourselves with God and Godly people who love God and love us unconditionally. Secondly, may we be a good and positive influence to others, and thirdly, may we always be wise in our choices and influences in this world.