As I sit at my computer and think about those words, it’s easy for me to quickly bring to mind many who fit that category. And there are more than a few who I consider my 3:00 am friends. (I could call them at that time and they’d come running!) We have memories that have lasted decades … funny stories, burdens shared, comparing notes of God’s faithfulness and experiences of every sort navigated together.
I am grateful for a growing number of people like that. But it could have been a different story.
Somewhere between the end of elementary school and the start of high school I had a variety of friends who were quite different from each other. One group consisted of neighborhood friends. We didn’t always make the right choices.
On one occasion we visited a trout farm after they had closed for the night. We didn’t damage anything, but I seem to remember being chased away by a man who looked like he was waving a shotgun! I’m sad to say that at least one of those ‘friends-of-questionable-behavior’ did end up incarcerated.
Fortunately, they were only some of my friends, and temporary ones at that. The others were kids from church, the children of my parent’s good friends and kids from other church youth groups. We shared activities that help set the proper moral and social direction for each other.
We competed in Bible quizzing with other youth groups – attended Bible camps and supervised trips to sporting events and amusement parks. We visited nursing home patients on Sunday afternoons and hung out at the park playing softball, and swigging sodas. They were of the same age as the friends I was leaving behind … but traveling in a different direction.
It’s been said that everyone close to you in your life is either moving you toward your goals or away from them. I thank God at this stage of my life that I choose the kinds of friends who would help me become what God designed me to become.
Paul gave the following advice: “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” I Corinthians 15:33 NIV Solomon said the same thing in different words: “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20 NLT
This week, check your friend list and be willing to part company with those who exert a negative pull on you and don’t value your desire to be like Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of old friends I want to smile, not cringe!
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
Proverbs 17:17 NLT