Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Not only is this a famous verse, but also a common saying; often heard, but never completely understood. What does it truly mean? Let us start with an example: I once knew someone that went to church every Sunday, was a straight A student, was obedient and always did what he had to do. But one day, he stopped coming to school, stopped going to church, disobeyed his parents and did everything wrong. I was very curious as to what had happened to him. He told me that that he transferred schools and met new people. Evidently, the friend met new people and they started to negatively influence him. He was a newcomer to the school so the people saw an opportunity to pull someone else down with them. As stated by Anton N.I. in his article titled “Making Changes”: “Our lives are in constant motion, and change is happening all around us, nonstop. Not only is change happening around us, but change happens within us and within our lives, whether the change is caused by ourselves or someone else. Any change which you make in your life will either help you to pull yourself closer to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, or that change, your decision, will push you away from Him.”(2). This quote demonstrates what had happened to the friend that changed schools. He let the devil get the best of him and started to adapt to their ways of living. This greatly pushed him away from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, from his family and from school. This could have been avoided in many ways and one of them being through God. If that friend had rejected what the people offered him and started praying to God for help, all could have been avoided.
Although we understand that hanging with the wrong crowd proves harmful to ourselves, we must ask why people consciously engage in friendships with those harmful to themselves. Renowned psychologist Prof. Jordan B. Peterson provides an explanation: “Sometimes, when people have a low opinion of their own worth—or, perhaps, when they refuse responsibility for their lives—they choose a new acquaintance, of precisely the type who proved troublesome in the past” (1). But why put in the effort to find friends which are good for you, friends which wish the best for you? As the Professor explains, “If you surround yourself with people who support your upward aim, they will not tolerate your cynicism and destructiveness. They will instead encourage you when you do good for yourself and others and punish you carefully when you do not. This will help bolster your resolve to do what you should do, in the most appropriate and careful manner. People who are not aiming up will do the opposite. They will offer a former smoker a cigarette and a former alcoholic a beer. They will become jealous when you succeed, or do something pristine. They will withdraw their presence or support, or actively punish you for it. They will override your accomplishment with a past action, real or imaginary, of their own. Maybe they are trying to test you, to see if your resolve is real, to see if you are genuine. But mostly they are dragging you down because your new improvements cast their faults in an even dimmer light” (1). In an effort to be true Christians, we must choose our friends wisely, seeking people which wish the best for us, which motivate us not only in our spiritual life, but also in our studies and careers. By first finding these friends, we will find ourselves succeeding across the board, and we will find ourselves more dedicated spiritually, as with our friends, we share our bonds to Christ himself.
Special thanks to Anton for helping put this article together.