So I settled into my chair on the balcony with a cup of coffee this morning and decided to read through some old devotionals and I came upon this one and after reading it I just knew that I had to share it with all of you. It is written by Andy Stanley and its about Proverbs 13:20: Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. I hope you enjoy this, God Bless you all, Jay.
We live in a culture that baits us to do things we have no business doing and then chastises us when we do them. It’s crazy. I get asked this question all the time: “Andy, is it a sin to . . .?” That’s the wrong question. The better question is: “In light of the fact that there is disaster out there somewhere, where should I place a guardrail?”
On a highway, guardrails keep a car from straying into dangerous or offlimits areas. Personal guardrails keep us from straying into regret. They’re standards of behavior that become matters of conscience. They help us to decide, “In this area of my life, this is as far as I will go.”
One area of life where it’s good to establish some guardrails is your friendships. At some point in your life, you are going to find yourself close to people whose lives are moving in the opposite direction of yours. When that happens, you will need the space that guardrails provide to keep from being swept in the wrong direction.
My wife, Sandra, and I have a good friend who told us this story.
When she was thirteen years old, she was dating a guy who was sixteen. She couldn’t understand why her mom wanted her to break up with him. He was cute and he could drive. It was like she had her own chauffeur.
Our friend was on the softball team at school. One afternoon during a game, her boyfriend was behind the backstop watching her pitch. She saw her mom slide up next to him and call him out. She knew what was happening. Her mom was breaking up with him for her. Sure enough, the boyfriend sat down with a sad look on his face.
Now, why would a mama do such a thing? Because mamas understand an important principle: our friends influence the direction and quality of our lives.
Think about it. Your greatest regrets probably happened when you were with friends. Some of the most addictive behaviors imaginable begin as pastimes with friends. Gradually, without noticing, you are involved in things that you used to criticize. If you could go back in time, you would reduce the influence of those friends in order to spare yourself regrets.
I don’t know of a place where this principle is stated more clearly than in Proverbs 13:20:
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
The first half of the verse is a promise. It states that wisdom is contagious. Wise people understand that what they do today influences who they will be tomorrow.
The second half of the verse is a warning. According to Scripture, a fool is a person who knows the difference between right and wrong but doesn’t care. The verse doesn’t say that you will become a fool if you spend time with fools. It says that if you spend your life with fools, you will eventually be hit by the shrapnel from the explosions in their lives, whether you adopt their way of thinking or not.
The best way to be a friend to someone who is moving in the opposite direction is to stay on this side of your guardrail so that when he or she crashes, you’ll be healthy enough to help.
So here’s my question: Will you do what you know you need to do when it comes to your friendships; will you establish some guardrails? Friendships are great, but they can also be dangerous because “he who walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools will eventually suffer harm.” Your friends will influence and possibly determine the direction and quality of your life. It’s your move.