Yesterday evening I ran into a young man that I knew in the midst of a mob of other kids. They were all agitated and seemed to either be about to start a fight with another group of people or was just leaving a fight. As I got closer to the scene and got to talk to the young man, I found out that he was assaulted for no apparent reason by a stranger. The mob of teenagers and young adults that had been with him only witnessed the event or been around to hear about what happened; yet they were all actively looking for the assailant as if they were personally offended. The young man was actually the only victim. And he was fuming with anger and could hardly contain himself. It was apparent to me, and the other people I was with, that if he hadn’t been pulled aside and away from this mob of people, something bad could have happened. It was evident in his demeanor that he had a mind to do something to retaliate. But who knows what that could have turned into? He could have gotten into a bigger fight that involved other people. The police could have been involved. He could have gotten seriously hurt. Who knows? But fortunately we were able to calm him down and get him home. He just really couldn’t understand why someone would attack him out of the blue. Somehow, though, by way of the crowd of people he was with, he had thought he had to address that person with his fists.
I think it is quite amazing how people can influence our own behavior to do good or evil.
Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God! (Psalms 119:115)
Sometimes we know exactly who to stay away from… Those extremely violent types, the thieves, serial killers, etc… We know that they are no good for us. But then there are times that we aren’t as vigilant about our friend groups or the people we associate ourselves with. We probably figure these people to be harmless…
Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15:33: Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
The thought on my mind this evening is about the ways in which people we love, who very well may be good folk, hinder us from doing the will of God. Of course we don’t want to call them evildoers (at least not to their face!). Yet, these well meaning people corrupt our good habits. Maybe they throw us out of our prayer life or discourage us from fasting or make fun of our eating habits or encourage us to do something that will negatively effect our conscience and cause us to sin.
It’s an interesting thought….What if Eve didn’t hang around snakes in the garden, or that dreadful story with Amnon, David’s son, right before he did the unthinkable he had a birdie whispering in his ear. Then there is Samson and Delilah; or Solomon and one of his wives. Or the Israelites in the promise land intermingling with the cultures around them… We have to be careful who we allow to be around us and influence our behavior. We must learn to see when the people around us aren’t mindful of the things of God but the things of men and women. And our response needs to be like Jesus said to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan!”( Of course we may not say that a loud, your grandmother might not tolerate that tone in your voice!) But we should certainly have a mind to resist temptation wherever and from whoever it comes from.
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”