The Company You Keep

Who are your friends? Who do you hang out with? What is their influence on you? Or, do you have an influence on them? Often when groups of people get together there is a group mentality that manifests itself. Does that happen when you are with certain groups?

We see this group mentality manifest itself in numerous settings. We see it at sporting events, concerts, local bars, and in our schools. We sometimes refer to certain groups as the “in crowd” because of the way they act. However, we usually find that when we catch one of those people by themselves, they don’t exhibit the same behavior or attitude.

This brings us to reflecting on our own lives. Do we act a certain way when we are with a specific group? This is not to infer that we should not be more formal when at a formal dinner. Instead, the question is in regard to how we act when in the company of our friends, family, church, or the “in crowd.” Should we act different when with these different groups of people?

The short answer is no, but it isn’t that simple, is it? Sure, we should feel more comfortable when we are with family and friends. Perhaps we laugh a little more or can relate a personal issue without fear of reprisal. Yet, it is more common, because of letting our guard down with our family, that we react negatively and treat family members badly. Where does this come from?

I’m sure most of us have heard the old saying, you are what you eat. Well, the same can be said about our mental attitudes. If we bombard ourselves with negativity from outside sources, we will reflect that negativity. Our brains absorb so much of it that we can’t help but regurgitate it.

Jesus stated that what comes out of our mouth is what makes us dirty or defiled (Matthew 15:11). It is also why He said to pick up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Our cross is leaving the ugliness of the world behind and choosing to be like Jesus. The meaning of following a Rabi, which Jesus was considered to be by many while walking this earth, is to follow so closely that the very dust off his sandals would get onto your clothes.

The metaphor explained is that when we truly follow Jesus, we will be covered by Him and in Him. That means that we will say what He would say, we will react as He would react, we will treat others as He would treat them. How well do we follow Jesus? Our behavior and words will tell the tale.

I pray each of us will decide to truly follow Jesus. I pray we will do as He would do and speak as He would speak. I pray that we become the shining example to the world around us. Choose to follow Jesus. Learn more about Him. Follow His example and His commands. Be Jesus to someone today.

1 Corinthians 15:33-34 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

Published by martypressey

Marty is a Pastor, retired Marine and dedicated Christian who has taught adult Bible classes and preached for 20 years. He currently serves as pastor of 3 United Methodist Churches. He believes being well-grounded in the Scriptures is key to living a better life. He brings a layman’s viewpoint to all his classes and sermons, helping others understand how to apply Scripture to their daily lives. When he sees others understand the message of a particular passage, it brings him great joy. He has seen his faith increase exponentially over the years; fully believing God has a plan and is executing it. He feels blessed to be part of that plan.

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