Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Solomon continues to share nuggets of wisdom contrasting the wise and foolish, the righteous and the sinful. In 13:20, he shares that whomever you surround yourself with impacts the outcome of your life. If you hang with people who are wise, you become wise. If you hang out with fools, your life is negatively impacted.
My wife and I are picky when it comes to whom our children hang with. Anytime we catch a sense that someone is influencing our child in a negative way, we pull them back. Life is hard enough, being a teenager is hard enough. Adding the pressure of a negative influence is an unnecessary wrinkle that we would rather iron out immediately than deal with in the future. This lesson is not just for teenagers, though it is a theme in a house full of them. It is easy to spot this for our kids than it is in our own lives. As we grow older I think our pride makes this simple truth more complicated. We explain away foolish people we choose to stay connected with. Maybe they are an important client to our business, an essential part of our social life, or possibly an influential person that we feel the need to keep around. Regardless of exactly why we choose to continue to stay connected with them we are naïve if we think they won’t somehow influence our judgment and our decisions.
Here are my actions steps:
- Assess the people I walk with and pray for wisdom.
Are they chasing after Jesus, or the chasing the world? Are they full of wisdom or full of something else? Do they draw me closer to Jesus or further away. Pray for wisdom on who I need to draw closer to and who I need to distance myself from.
- Find wise friends.
If I am the wisest person at the tables I sit at on a daily basis, then I need to find new tables.
- Let go of the fools.
This isn’t judgmental. We are all foolish at some time. But if I remain deeply connected to people who don’t fear God, nor desire to be more like Christ, they are probably going to end up leading me down a path I don’t belong. Misery loves company and bad company corrupts good character. (1 Cor. 15:33)
Father, you have called me to love everybody. The wise and the fools. Yet, I also recognize that there are people that are toxic and likely to lead me astray if I am not careful. Show me the difference between people who occasionally do foolish things and people who are fools. Let me be a wise companion to others. Forgive me for being a fool more than I would like to admit. Break through my pride and help me find people who are wiser than I am to do life with.