Bad Company And Influence
Our influence has a direct impact on our potential. “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33), after all, so when we make the choice to associate with those of a poor moral character, they become spiritual lead weights. In the same scripture, Paul even warns us, “Be not deceived!” We are only kidding ourselves if we think we can have evil companions and still keep our conduct clean. The Bible gives us a few reasons why bad influences drag us down:
We learn their ways – “Do not be friends with an angry man, nor go about with one who has a bad temper; Lest you learn his ways and find a snare for yourself” (Proverbs 22:24-25). Unfortunately, it becomes very easy to mimic the ways of an unrighteous person when you associate with him or her.
Their bad attitudes rub off on us – Moses did not want the fearful in his army because of their fearful influence, which prompted him to order all of the spiritually faint to go home (Deuteronomy 20:8). He states, “Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brother’s heart becomes faint as well.” Similarly, if we spend time with pessimists, skeptics, cowards, and hypocrites, we may start emulating them.
We may help the unrighteous if we ourselves are strong enough – Be careful not to be so haughty that you blatantly walk into a sinful situation to help somebody without first being adequately prepared. Jesus may have associated with the harlots and tax-collectors, but it was easy for Him (James 1:13). It’s not so easy for those of us who are prone to temptation and weakness! Not only that, but there have been myriad Christians who, with the best of intentions, have tried to help a sinner only to be brought down a moral notch (1 Corinthians 9:27). “And on some have mercy even with fear, hating the garment polluted by the flesh” (Jude 23).
Influence is diminished because of acquaintances – Spending too much time around sinners can have a terrible secondary problem, as well: it may cause a stumbling block to other Christians who see us lacking discretion. We lose credibility with our brethren by favoring those of the world. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light and darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).