As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
We can’t diminish or laugh away the importance of who we hang around. Our friendships and who we rub shoulders with is very critical in our life. It affects who we are, how we act and think, and what we hold dear to our hearts. If we happen to be very grounded in our morals and values, hopefully, we can become the influencers instead of the ones being influenced – but if we aren’t – the wrong kind of friendships can adversely affect our walk with the Lord.
If you hang around someone who is very casual about what they believe, without even realizing it, you can end up becoming casual about it as well. I’ve seen it happen time and time again where someone whom I thought seemed very strong in their faith suddenly started making a concession here and a concession there. Soon I hardly recognized who they were. We can’t blame others totally on the choices we choose to make – after all, we do have free will! But we can certainly point a finger at the influencer.
We need to be careful that we do not lead others down the wrong path. God tells us not to do something that would cause our brother to stumble. We need to be so mindful that others are watching us and sometimes following our lead. Likewise, we are like sheep who follow someone else’s lead. We seem to think that if it’s okay for “them” to do it – then it’s okay for us and that’s the wrong kind of thinking. Even very reputable, wise people make mistakes and can lead us down the wrong road if we aren’t careful!
I have the opportunity every once in awhile to quote the above verse to my children. When I see something in the media or they are watching a movie where a young girl changes her look and actions to be a part of the “in-crowd.” I tell them that is why it is so important that we choose our friends wisely. So often good kids are caught up in a bad crowd and they will pay the price – whether it’s something simple like getting detention for simply being involved in a bad group or something worse like jail time. Iron sharpens iron and I don’t want my kids to have to learn the hard way that we are each responsible for our own individual choices. That includes standing with the wrong crowd even if you aren’t personally doing anything wrong.
As adults, we need to be extra careful. We have children watching us and non-believers watching us. Heck – we even have other believers watching us and being influenced by us. Iron sharpens iron.
We need to pick our friends wisely. Choose people who encourage us to be better, stronger, wiser. Don’t choose people who are simply out to have “fun” and abandon what they say they believe in in the flash of a moment. Don’t choose people who are casual with other people’s feelings. Don’t choose people who are critical of who you are and constantly putting you down. Don’t choose people who simply “pander” to you and don’t tell you the truth in love but instead enable your destructive choices and behavior. Don’t choose people who may talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
I want to be sharpened. I want to sharpen others in a good way. A refining way. Let us give more time and effort to strengthening one another instead of destroying and crippling each other by selfish and prideful choices.