We have all asked the above question before. I have asked it of myself and others. I know for me, I want to know the what, where, why, who, and hows of life. I especially like the question, “Why?” Curiosity is something we all have to some extent. The old saying goes, “Curiosity is what killed the cat.” I can only imagine how that saying originated; no joke intended. One thing we as young people may ask ourselves is, “Why are we told to make good friends?” Let us think about it.
All of us need people in our lives. We need someone who can share a laugh with us. We need people who will give us a hug during difficult times. Sometimes we just need someone to be active in our presence. A nod of confirmation, a smile of encouragement, or an ear that will listen can do any heart good. We all have our preferences when it comes to how many friends we have. We will also differ somewhat in what we desire our friends to be. We need friends. We all know that.
So why are we consistently cautioned to be careful about the friends we make or people we are around? Most of us are at least a little familiar with the words of 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'” Why did God tell us this? We know the Bible is true and is the only accurate book we have that informs us how to enter eternal life in heaven. The truth is everything affects us. Some things, like people, will almost always leave an effect on us. It does not matter whether the effect is positive or negative. Now, we do determine what affects us. Little Jimmy does not make big Billy slap Jimmy in the face. Little Jimmy might have been “asking for it,” but it is Billy who makes the decision to let Jimmy annoy him. Also, Billy voluntarily moves his hand to slap Jimmy in the face.
As Christians, we are told to seek wholesome company so as not to have easy access to evil temptations. The devil is more than delighted to put those temptations before us. He is extremely willing to make those “little sins” look enticing and “ok.” Let me be clear, it is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted in all forms as we are and yet he did not sin. The Bible makes that very clear. The reason we are told to avoid bad company is that God, our parents, our elders, and preachers love us. They want what is best for us.
They want us to be a vessel of honor that is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:21-22: “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” If we are farther away from temptation, we are far less likely to succumb to sin. Some temptations can be avoided entirely, and they should be. Our parents and others know these things. When temptation comes knocking, we choose to sin or remain clean. Our parents, Bible class teachers, and elders want to make it easier for us not to succumb to those temptations. Friends can have much influence on our lives. The decisions we make now can affect us for the rest of our lives. Let us try to surround ourselves with the best people possible and make it easier for us to filter out the bad from the good.