Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm

You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. I have seen the damage done time and time again by people who once went to church, and still hanged out with their old friends only to find themselves pulled back into the world. Especially when you become a new believer, you can not hang out with the old friends like you used to and think you will not be affected.

Friendship

Before I became a Christian, I loved hanging out with my friends. We didnt go out robbing people or get drunk but we used to go out at the weekends and go to parties and clubs and generally have a good laugh. But when I became a Christian, my allegiance changed (which was quite hard admittedly) but I knew I had to be around like minded people who loved God and loved his word. I had to throw out all of my old records because at that time, I could not handle it because of the affect it had on me. Looking back now, this was definitely God changing me

Now I am not saying that you should never mingle with non christians or old friends but when they begin to have a negative affect on your spiritual life, then maybe its time to loosen the reins.

This is also so true with ministers of the gospel that hang around together. Of course there are exceptions and but generally you can have a good idea the where a pastor or minister stands theologically by the people that they have to speak at their meetings and conferences and the ministers that they ‘hang around’ with.

The best analogy I can give is if you are a sheep, you feel uncomfortable being in a pig pen and vice versa. If you are comfortable in a pig pen, then it is probably because you are a pig. Do you feel comfortable hanging around with people who constantly swear, get drunk etc. Then it maybe a good idea to examine yourself to see if you are truly saved.

So my advice is find wise people and be in their company as much as possible. It could literally save your life

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Comments
  1. martydaniels says:

    Alan…hmmm…I don’t really know about this one.

    The problem is that a lot of churches are just Christian ghetto’s that aren’t really anything more than humanistic or egotistical landing places.

    It’s widely reported that both Luther and Calvin used common street language in their ministries. Many of the hymns used in the protestant church are words set to old bar songs and even Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes.

    What I am getting at is “Hanging Out” with someone who is not of your faith and in fact is openly against your faith does not bring your salvation into question. On the day of judgment each person will account for themselves, not their friends.

    • Clarence says:

      There is a difference between Jesus who hung out with tax collectors and sinners and Christians who get unequally yoked with unbelievers. Jesus taught the tax collectors and sinners the way. Christians who are unequally yoked with unbelievers are either trying to fit in or following their own flesh. They are waisting time hanging out with unbelievers when they could be doing the Lord’s will.

      • me says:

        “wasting time when they could be doing God’s will”? Is it not Gods will to love the sinners? Jesus said himself, those who are well do not need a doctor. Time spent with a nonbeliever is the farthest thing from wasting time. We are called to be the salt of the earth. If we are salt that stays in a salt shaker then That is when we have wasted time. Do not talk about unsaved people like they are worthless to God. What is “the Lords will” then? Time spent like the pharisees in self righteousness. God loves the sinner,we are ALL sinners, and hanging out with them, is never a waste of your time because God would spend as much time as he had to with them to at least rub off on them.

    • Hira says:

      Marty do you know what these Judgments are ? yes you read it right Judgments

    • Praising Jesus says:

      That is an unbiblical opinon on your part. First, of course Jesus hung out with sinners, that’s no example, what choice did He have. The last supper was held with sinners, the feast in the upper room was held with sinners. He selected 12 sinners to be His disciples. There were, and are, no people on earth wo are not sinners, Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;. He could hang out with no other. Jesus told us to witness the truth to sinners, but not to be in the midst of them. Job said, “Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. Isaiah said, Isaiah 52:11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. Most importantly, Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles told us, 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,. When you “hang out” with someone, you become like them, that’s how it is when two “walk together”. Jesus asked us to witness to the lost, not participate in their ways.

  2. Alan Higgins says:

    I hear what you are saying Marty and you are correct. Maybe I did not make myself clear in the blog. Our salvation does not depend on who we hang around. But from experience I have found that christians who prefer to generally (and I stress generally) hang out with unbelievers than believers normally get influenced by them. That is not to say that we should not hang out with them at all otherwise, how can we win them to Christ. I suppose I am trying to say that there must be a healthy balance

    Thanks for your comments

  3. lavrai says:

    Hi, first time visitor here…

    I agree with what you say Alan and can apply it directly to my life. I had to cut some strings because, to be quite honest, when I started take true walk with GOD, that not one of the folks I considered friends or close acquaintances believe as I believe. For them GOD and Jesus are bywords. These are OK people, you know, as we are all OK people. But if I can’t even speak with them about the most important aspect of my life…then it becomes harder and harder to call them my friends.

    And one definitely cannot serve two masters… you know how it goes… either you will cling to one and despise the other, you can’t serve GOD and mammon, a body divided cannot stand, etc.

    In my case, I haven’t cut all of these people off and out 100 percent. I hold the ones I need to at a certain distance and interact with the others as the Spirit leads me. I am in no way or shape ‘better’ than they are, but I have accepted the truth and love abiding in the light. If they feel oppositely, one day this would divide us anyway.

    And, for those who may need to have me write this, I am not saying Christians need to ostracize the ‘unsaved’ or something. You would pretty much have to leave the planet if you wanted to avoid interaction with non-Christians (and there are many so-called Christians who need to be avoided, too). Every saved person is a repentant sinner…only One came into this world without sin.

    Remember, it rains on both the godly and the unjust.

    Peace, http://www.lavrai.com/blogs

  4. Alan Higgins says:

    Very well stated Lavrai. Thanks for your contribution

  5. Rashida says:

    I LOVE THIS BLOG, the bible clearly tell us to choose are friend wisely
    Proverbs 12:26
    26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
    For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
    So to say this has nothing to do with your christian walk is , totaly off, either you take the bible entirely or none at all, this goes back into surrendering your life completely to christ as paul said it is no longer I who lives but christ in me who lives. Hang around fools you will become a fool, i think peole who would argue with this should read the book of proverbs again, wonderful blog!!!
    Matthew 4:4 (New King James Version)

    4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

    1 Corinthians 5:11
    11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

  6. TellerA says:

    There is a fine line here though. The bible also states that you should not judge, which is basically what you are doing. Maybe your friends aren’t walking on the same path as you as far as faith goes, but it is your duty as a Christian to show the road to them.

    • James says:

      Teller A:

      The Bible does not say not to judge. This is an oft-misquoted part of Matthew chapter 7.
      The whole context states thus,

      1Judge not, that ye be not judged.

      2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

      3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

      4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

      5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

      It says to first cast out the beam in your own eye. Once you have done that, then you can see clearly to cast the mote out of someone else’s eye. We clearly can judge, just so long as we are not committing the same sin.

      The Bible also states:
      John 7:24
      Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

      1 Corinthians 6:2
      Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

      1 Corinthians 6:3
      Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

      Also, the LORD tells us to be separate:

      Ephesians 4:17 (King James Version)

      This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.

      Alan is right.

  7. Alan Higgins says:

    First of all, please tell me where is the judgment? Secondly where am I not showing love?

  8. First time visitor here..

    I loved this posting!!!!!! This is so on point. Really..you are not judging anyone. It’s like my mother used to say “Birds of feather flock together”. Similar people go to the same places and do the same things together…

    I understand completely. When we truly submit our lives to the Lord we do not want anyone or anything to jeopordize our testimonies and our spiritual growth. We are trying to live a life pleasing to God and we can not allow ourselves to be tempted by constantly surrounding ourselves with places or people that may cause us to stumble.

    Our friends may not understand..but if they are true friends they will respect our decision. Ever since I decided to really surrender to the Word of God I had to be careful which of my old friends I chose to hang out with because they would purposely try to see if I was still the old me.

    I still have some friends that are unsaved but I am wise about when and where we hang out. I will not compromise my faith by allowing them to influence me. My goal is to be a positive influence on them and lead them to the Lord. That is what Jesus was doing when he was hanging out with the tax collectors, he was influencing and ministering to them.

    My desire is to please the Lord and not go back to the pig pen.

    Thanks again for this posting..How do I subscribe? Do you have a mailing list for new postings?

  9. kittykat says:

    in my experience I have found self proclaimed christians rather two faced individuals and therefore I stay clear of this type…what’s wrong in just being a decent human being?? signed…happy nonbeliever….please don’t try to convert .

  10. Chris says:

    It’s funny how many self professed non-believer hangout at these Christian sites. Christianity is addictive, beware you may become one.

    Addicted to Christ my self!!

  11. Alan Higgins says:

    You may be a happy now kittykat but you still will be guilty when you die and you need a savior.

    Read https://realchristianity.wordpress.com/a-message-to-non-christians/

    or

    http://www.readthisbeforeyoudie.com

  12. Jordan says:

    FYI Marty the majority of Jesus time was spent with his disciples not with tax collectors although i do not deny that he did spend time with them he did with the goal of converting them and making them have the same morals that Jesus did. Further more you are not Judging the individual you are simply choosing to avoid these individuals for your own good, you should not be thinking any less of them, just avoiding them because of your morals.

  13. Tristan says:

    It depends on what kind of person you are. If you’re the kind of person that falls in with the mob and believes everything you’re told, like most Christians are, then you should stay in Church and take safety in your little clique.

    But if you’re an independent thinker, grounded in what you believe and don’t rely on what others to tell you, then it should be no problem to have a beer with your mates.

  14. Cristian says:

    I can’t agree more.
    The moment we are saved, everything will change.
    I think we are supposed to have (at least some of) our best friends in the church (since we are supposed to love one another)
    As about “do not judge”, Paul Washer usually replies to this “don’t twist the Scriptures, lest ye be like Satan”
    I think he’s right
    Many blessings
    Nice blog
    Cristian

  15. Josh says:

    Jesus would talk to prostitutes, disabled people, outcasts, every day. Basically people that most people wouldn’t want to talk to in that time period, and even today somewhat.

  16. Alan Higgins says:

    Josh, I totally agree with you. I’m not saying that you should alienate yourself from unbelievers, otherwise how else will we reach them. I’m talking about as it were a persons ‘circle of friends’

  17. chevelle says:

    thats really true and not only that but if you are save and you promise god that you will worship him for the your life and then you go back to the life you were living in you are in big ruble with god…… meaning don’t make god an promises that you can’t fulfill.

  18. PrinceB says:

    I really like this blog; it has helped me a lot.

    My experience was different. When I became a christian, I continued to hang out with the same old friends; partying and drinking with them. My christian life was what was most important to me, but I could not discuss this with my best friends because it meant nothing to them. Some of them felt it was only a matter of time and I would shake of this “christian thing” and get back to normal, I did not. It was a source of jokes and ridicule, even questions like; “if you are really serious about being a christian, why are you still hanging out with us”. Newly acquired christian friends were not more supportive and asked questions like “are you really serious about being a christian”. Only Jesus, whom I spoke to in the quietness of my heart really understood how much I loved him and how much I really loved my friend and did not want to desert them without them getting saved. He was (and always is) my True friend that stayed closer to me than a Brother (Proverbs 18:24).

    This was all 22 years ago, I am still saved and 22-times-stronger. Moreover, every single one of these friends have become Christians, and we are all still friends. Jesus is however our best friend.

    Would I advise any new christian to do what I did? Not necessarily! I took a big risk; it took a lot of prayer, regular fellowship and an indubitable love for Christ, that came by spending more time with him than hanging out with friends. If you don’t have the faith and will power, it is much better that you cut of your right arm (old friends) than for your whole body be thrown into hell.

    God bless you and thanks again for this blog.

  19. Akanbi Luke says:

    HI, ALAN,
    I mailed you on a request which is very dear to me and one which requires urgent attentionbut maybe you have the feeling you don;t know this feller you did not reply.Christianity is all about caring for one another emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.A friend is not one you should get acquinted with but rather a fellow God is using you to put a smile unto his/her face at a particular time the devil might want to snatch such away from God.Many who today become ungodly at one time or the other needed just a little push but never got it.
    God wanted His creation to enjoy the earth hence when men derailed He comforted mankind with His beloveth son and subsequently the several Apostles after him.
    Agood friend is that after the pattern of Jesus who never waited for introduction before bailing out.Friendship is God;s networking in this end time to pull men back to the spiritual track Be your brother;s keeper is the order in heaven and one that should be practiced by all christians irespective of denominational affiliation and geographical location. An experience many a times helps to draw men back to God.

  20. Akanbi Luke says:

    My experience of christianity may not tally with others but surfice to say this that I was brought up in a classical practical christian living which is purely understanding God from Biblical perspective and natural appreciation of God and His creation,.I love God in totality of my being and if only we would let Him dictate our activities then we shall all be a useful instruments unto Him. My seventeen years of serving Him with any salaryvand not under a particulat denomination nor a substantive support fromany where has shown that He calls whom He wishes from whatever location.If He said go I go like now that He says appeal I know He will use whatever instruments at His disposal to do the work.WhenHe commissioned Jeremiah to go and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem He knew his limitation but when Jeremiah make the call he got ore than what he wanted.

  21. Niles Day says:

    At the end of the day, it’s about push and pull. You exile yourself from your friends because you found Christ, you undermine yourself greater than anyone ever could. The whole point of being a Christian is being a friend. There is no greater love than this–a friend lay his life down for a friend. Casting your arm off into hell so the whole of you doesn’t go, is how Jesus said that some of us just won’t break free of certain yolk and need to go under such extremes. He’s not condoning it as much as understanding it. When you’re new in the faith or still in doubt about much, you don’t wanna be tested. But look for discernment in how you push and pull. There’s no progress to be found from fully condoning or condemning where you come from and those you cherish.

  22. sylver says:

    thanks for this blog. only what we need to be aware is not to lower God’s standard for the sake of friendship, there are things they called blessed addition and blessed subtraction, God allow to cut of some realtionship for our own good.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I got news for you but there is a lot of more sinning going on right in the church crowd and church building, it’s just down low, if you know what I mean! I met my ex-whoremongering husband in one and he was speaking in some kind of fake borrowed !tongue as if he had the real Holy Ghost. Girls beware of who you marry right in the house of the Lord!

  24. breanna says:

    my papa and grandma died on may 5 and ii’m nothappy about it i i’m sad aboutit

  25. Mike says:

    To be like Jesus you must spread the message and actions showed by His very self. To hide amongst wolves of similar clothing, to fear the world God created, to actively avoid the spreading of positive messages by limiting your circle of friends. That is truly not the path to heaven. Go out openly amongst the world and spread the word of Jesus and love. Hiding amongst other christian friends, in fear, more closely resembles the actions of Satin, in his lair.

  26. o'dee says:

    Yeah i truely love this. I am new on here and reading very closely every one has contributed meaningfuly. I believe God the almight has created a judge in every one which is the ‘conscience’ so let it jugde you. You might think you are in charge of your concience when you go against it but on jugdement day it shall remind you of every thing wether you like it or not . So what i believe be is this; be ye a christian or non christian; what you wouldnt like to be done to you dont do to others and we wouldnt have to be tagged ‘Christians’ to bring in demarcation before we become what God wants for his children which is love, peace and happiness.

    Once again i appreciate this blog.

  27. Jessica Brown says:

    Love this point! Haven’t read anything else you’ve written.. My pastor actually preached on this Sun! He’s Italian and says it like this “hang around knuckleheads you become a knucklehead.” I’ll take what Alan said and what our Pastor said yesterday and try to explain for those who see two different sides. The key difference here is whether the appropriate word is friend or acquaintance. One definition of acquaintance describes it as a slight knowledge of something. If we think of this in terms of people, it’s the people you interact with but don’t “KNOW WELL.” Another way to think of it is the people you spend the majority of your time with. So while Jesus interacted with tax collectors, the woman at the well, Pharisees and various other “lost people” his friends were the twelve disciples. Within the disciples he had a closer group of friends “his inner circle if you will – Peter, John and James.
    There are lots of verses that back up this teaching about choosing of friends and the purpose of friends.
    He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.
    Proverbs 13:20
    The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26
    Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
    Proverbs 11:14
    As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
    Proverbs 27:17
    Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.
    1 Corinthians 15:33

  28. Silvia says:

    “Show me your friends and I’ll tell who you are”. I disagree with this believe or judgement. You might have prostitutes or drug-addicts as friends but you as their friend are different. Neither a prostitute nor a drug-seller or addict. I have friends who are prostitutes but I’m not one and I don’t like it and I will never be. Some people say “never say never” but I surely believe I will not be. As far as I’m concerned, more than one Penis is too much for me.

  29. ofel says:

    I think the greatest problem in human relationships today is how we have been taught by society to depend on others for everything. Our identity can be totally dependent on the identity of the people we consider friends. Society thinks this way (who your friends are is who you are).. which is totally misleading.. I am who I am (though influenced by others, example: family, society) at the same time, I am totally separate with others. When we are aware of this independence with others, then we become free to be friends with EVERYONE.. without any judgment of the other person. Jesus was free, that’s why he can mingle with everyone.

    See Anthony de Mello in YouTube

    • Alan Higgins says:

      Everybody, please do not misinterpret what I am trying to say. I am in NO WAY saying they Christians cannot breathe friends with unbelievers but we must be careful that if we do not surround ourselves with godly believers, it is easy for them to influence our way if thinking instead of the other way round. As scripture says BAD company corrupts good manners.

  30. ofel says:

    sorry..by bad company..

  31. June says:

    Be careful of wolves in sheep’s clothing….People should choose wisely the types of friends they have for sure…… bad influences can cause believers to make bad decisions, but saying to choose church goers over nonchurch goers seems a little bit closed minded….there are good people and bad people in every group…. God gives us the ability to use good judgment inside church as well as out. Sometime the “Christians” you are supposed to be hanging around in the church are more detrimental to your faith than people outside….drinking and partying is bad, but gossiping or talking about people…. i.e. one of the commandments…. Passing false judgment against thy neighbor…..can be much worse….It can hurt someone for many years and push them completely away from Christ. Just because someone goes to church or is a “leader” in church does not mean they are “better” than other people although many believe that to be true….. “Church” does not save you….JESUS saves you and that what’s in your heart… Trust, integrity, positive attitude, and not being mean, negative, or judgmental toward others…… actually “living a Christian life” in everything you do as opposed to going to pretending to be better than everyone else and hurting people around…. It happens all the time, people are weak….. They need to gain strength from each other rather than be torn down by each other…..

  32. Harm says:

    See most of you can read but you dont take in what you read. This person only left their friends behind because they were the influence in his life that held him back. He didnt say that leaving them will leed him to salvation but it set him on the right path. He wasn’t strong enough like Jesus was to help those in need because he was still in need himself. When you can help others because your foundation is set in stone then nothing can shake you but he didnt have his yet so then it is a good idea to remove yourself from sand and put yourself on a rock.

  33. ad says:

    I absolutely understand the sentiment behind this old adage and it rings 100% true.
    Yes, I can associate and even befriend non believers and people who are criminals, prostitutes, etc… They are God’s children and are loved as much as any believers, and as such I must love them. In time many of these people may turn away from sin, mayhem, criminal activity, etc… but there is a BIG difference between seeing people on a casual basis and choosing to spend ALL of my time with people who are perverse, degenerate, evil and corrupt and engaging in their activities. As for judging, as people of God we ARE called to judge, we judge people every single day. I wouldn’t let my children associate with known child molesters, drug addicts, etc… that’s ajudgmentt but is that wrong? What I can’t do, is decide who will enter heaven and who will be condemned to hell, that is my Father’s job. I can’t be haughty, condemning, proud but I can guard my soul and the souls of those whom I love from dangerous, corrupting influences and the people who practice evil.

  34. silouanos says:

    hi guys ! I dont have any issues with beleivers but all beleivers have issues with unbeleiver. you should all know where religions came from, how others religions appears why they appears etc etc. I beleive in me in my choices my ways I know what’s good or bad we all need to beleive in a spiritual strenght to give a sense to life. anyways I’m not gonna argues but you should know how deeply mean Religion. cheers

    Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so “William S.”

  35. melina says:

    Great blog!!! Thank you!

  36. cuddlyluv says:

    Please everone check out my blog http://jargons.blog.ca . I have a post on Show Me Your Friend and Dilemma of a Facebook User. Don’t forget to drop a cmment or two and subscribe for new updates. Thank you very much.

  37. Lee says:

    I have one comment. I am a Christian and my husband says he is one too. But with his actions I don’t believe he is.. I believe we should be able to interact with non believers and be the one to influence other people to become christians. My husband says we should not mingle with anyone that are non christians. He is also talking about my parents, brothers and our children. He does not want them in our house anymore. And does not want me to visit any of them. He says he is standing ground on this and wants me to do the same. We are currently separated and will not come home until I agree on this. I guess he won’t be coming home at all.

  38. Ogah says:

    Lovely post,full of insight and great motivation

  39. R says:

    I have a dilemma that I am a Christian and am uncomfortable with a lot of drinking, but my husband and his family are not Christians and drinking a lot is their favorite past-time. I have a son now and worry about their influence on him. His cousin has gone downhill since turning 21. I try to get my husband and family to drink less and get to know God, but to no avail. I would love to have Christian friends, but I’m socially awkward and don’t have ANY. I went to a small group at Church and they all know each other, but no one seemed at all interested in being friends with me. I feel so alone in my Christianity. It bothers me the only people we ever hang out with like to get drunk every chance they get. Some of them have young children but don’t mind taking them to Happy hour every week. I wish I had more Christian support. I’m afraid I’m becoming angry and bitter and having exactly the opposite influence on them than I should as a Christian because of it. I wish I could be more loving of them despite their behavior. So basically I’m in a position where I HAVE to hang out with “sinners” but am very uncomfortable about it and I don’t even know any Christians that want to hang out with me despite going to church and small group. Additionally my husband only started drinking a few years ago because of the influence from his family and friends and he refuses to stop. It’s what we fight about most. My son is still a toddler, but I still feel that he shouldn’t be exposed to this behavior. I feel stuck.

    • skatblueeyes says:

      R, I’m sorry you are in such a difficult situation! Is there a mom & tots group at a church near you?

    • skatblueeyes says:

      I know with a toddler you are busy, but what about volunteering at Crisis Pregnancy or some place where you’d make some Christian friends. At a church here, the women meet to walk, play games like bunco, etc. Also, you could find some Christian groups on facebook that would at least give you interaction with other Christian women.

    • skatblueeyes says:

      I have been thinking about you & praying for your situation. You should email the pastor at that church. He needs to be aware that you are not being ministered to & that people are unfriendly & unconcerned.
      If you’d like to be facebook friends I’m open to that. Hope you don’t think this is a weird suggestion – it is only an offer for some facebook Christian fellowship! Take care.

  40. Mover says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your title…

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