Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV).
What kind of company do you keep? Perhaps like me you are in a Christian environment much of the time. If so, that’s wonderful! But even if that is the case, it’s important to be mindful of the type of influence others – including believers – have on you. For instance, have you ever gotten caught up in gossip in what was supposed to be a prayer meeting? Or maybe you’ve given in to the temptation to join in with others who are criticizing the pastoral staff of the church. It’s even possible for you to begin to think negatively about your spouse when those around you routinely find fault with their spouses. The bottom line is that even in your friendships with other believers you need to be careful to consider the type of company you keep.
What about friendships with unbelievers? Shouldn’t you be “salt and light”? Yes, most definitely! However, although we should seek to influence those around us who do not know Christ, we must always guard against compromise in our relationships. For example, although it is good to reach out to friends and neighbors who do not know Christ, it’s not advisable to develop intimate personal relationships with people who pull you away from God. As a safeguard, be accountable to another strong believer when it comes to your friendships with unbelievers. Spend time praying together for those unbelieving friends, so that your focus is always on being salt and light, rather than on fitting in and being popular. And know that when it comes right down to it, if you are truly walking in the light of Jesus, you will never quit “fit in” with those who don’t know Him.
Finally, I want to address one other aspect of the “company” many of us keep in the form of the media. Most of us are bombarded on a daily basis with images, sounds and words that either uplift and point us to Christ, or bring us down. Is there anything wrong with reading a clean romance novel? Maybe not, but romance novels, even clean ones, can create unrealistic expectations for perfection in our relationships, and may leave us frustrated and disillusioned when our spouses don’t quite measure up to the romantic hero in our latest novel. Other books may be crass, or have ideas that are contrary to Scripture. And many T.V. shows, movies, and magazines can corrupt our character. Next time you’re about to pick up a book or turn on the T.V., consider whether or not your media choice will corrupt your character. Then make the right choice!
Father, we pray that you will help us to carefully consider the type of company we keep. Help us to make right choices regarding friendships and the media. Help us to live in a way that honors You so that we’ll always be growing in godliness. Amen.
Thought: Use your journal to evaluate the company you keep. Take the time to work think through both relationships with people and the media. (Note: If you don’t like to journal, spend some time praying about this subject.)
There were some good reminders for us here. There is, however, one grand assumption, or presupposition and that may be seen in a rehearsal of the verse cited: “Bad company corrupts good character”. In order for the reader to take to heart these admonitions they first have to, of biblical necessity, conclude that they are of "good character" or there could be no corruption. The article presupposes the "good" so it can focus on the "corrupt". This could be grounds for a lengthy discussion on theology, to be sure, but writer to writer? I think I would have spent a near equal amount of time telling of what the bible explains as "good character", after all, it is human nature to cast ourselves in the best light and unfortunately we typically do that by comparing ourselves to others. Sad. The only time I know of when I exhibited "good character" were those times when the Spirit reigned in me, (which is not often enough to suit me) if He can be corrupted, then what good is my good character? Again, I would address the assumption, or valid conclusion the believer must make before the rest of this article "fit".