“Don’t be fooled: “Bad friends will ruin good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Point. Blank. Period. I could just stop right there.
This is one of those scriptures that punched me right in the stomach. Because come on, we all have friends that we know should do better, that we know could change, however they refuse too and we just won’t let them go. They are dragging us down, and frustrating us, and draining all of our energy, but we continue to spend our time with them. We spend our money on them. We hang out with them. We fix their problems. We make excuses for them. We tell ourselves that it’s not that serious. . . that as long as we are not participating in their bad habits, then it’s nothing wrong with being friends with them. WRONG.
My mom always said, “Association brings on assimilation.” You become who you hang around. It has been proven. The 5 people who you hang around the most, have the biggest influence over your life. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we can see the truth in that.
We all have spirits and energy that can be transferred to one another. That’s why if one of your friends is crying, you want to cry. Or if one of your friends is mad, you begin to get mad. If one of your friends curses a lot, then chances are you will start sounding like a pirate soon. If one of your friends gossip all the time, then chances are you will begin to stay in other people’s business as well. If one of your friends is “Negative Nate or Debbie Downer” then chances are you will start to see your cup half empty.
It is a fact; birds of a feather flock together. It’s also a proven fact that spirits transfer. We are drawn to people with the same energy as us, kindred spirits. As humans, we like to be around other humans who are just like us. We like to feel needed. We are social creatures.
So check this: If you go hang out in the smoker’s lounge too long, 9 times out of 9 you will come out smelling like smoke; and other people will automatically assume that you’re a smoker whether you were actually smoking or not. . . Right? So that means if you don’t smoke, don’t go in the smoker’s lounge. It’s just that simple, we can’t get upset when people paint their own pictures of us; especially when we continue to give them the paint, the primer, and the brushes.
If you are practicing celibacy, you can’t hang out with people who like talking about their sex life all the time; because you will find yourself wanting to engage in sexual activities. You are trying to lose weight for the fourth time this year, but your friend is always offering you a Quarter Pounder with cheese; sooner or later you are going to take them up on that offer. You stopped drinking, but every weekend your friends are taking Jell-O shots and popping bottles; after a while you will be sipping as well. And I know some of us like to get all deep and say that “We are Christians, and we know how to withstand temptation, we have self-control, we have will power. . .” and I agree, God is with you, and I’m glad you are living for Him, however your flesh is weak and to continue to put yourself in compromising situations that will only lead to dead ends is just crazy. You are asking for trouble. You’re playing with fire, and eventually you will get burned. If your friends are living a certain way or engaging in activities that are no longer good to you or for you, why would you continue to be around them?
People often come to me for advice about friendship, and most of the times I ask everyone these few questions:
- How are you benefitting from that person?
- Are they adding to you, or taking away from you?
- How is that person benefitting from you?
- What do they bring to the table?
If you have a friend who is selfish, and isn’t attempting to help you in any way, drop them. If they always have their hand out, and are taking away from you, drop them. If you are always doing for them, and you feel used, drop them. If they don’t add any value to your life, if they don’t encourage you to be a better person, drop them.
Stop tolerating that emotional abuse! Rid yourself of the leeches who are sucking you dry. People like that will do more harm than good.
Either you will change your friends, or your friends will change you. It’s no way around it. No matter how good you attempt to be, if you keep hanging around trash, you will start to stink. And nobody wants to be a hot, funky, moving mess. So set yourself apart, and align yourself with people who are heading in the same direction as you. We can’t choose our family, however we can choose our friends. Choose wisely.