‘One bad apple spoils the bunch’. Have you ever heard that saying? Is it true? Yes-because the one apple that’s gone bad gives off ethylene, speeding the ripening of all the other apples in the same barrel as the bad apple.
That modern proverb is a wonderful parallel to this Proverb from the Bible:
Proverbs 12:26- Godly people are careful about the friends they choose.
But the way of sinners leads them down the wrong path.
The architect of life has given us the blueprint to follow. Our experience confirms this. We know that the company that we keep has incredible ramifications. You can’t play with fire and expect to escape without being burnt. Just think back to your school days. You remember the crowd of kids who earned a reputation for being mischievous and troublesome. Always getting into trouble. During school they spent time in the principal’s office; after school they’d be in trouble with police. They may have lived days full of excitement and adrenaline, but that source of entertainment led down the path of trouble and a future with additional unnecessary hurdles standing in their way to success and fruitfulness. We know that was then, and we know it is still now. As a result, we carry the weight of parental concern for the choice of friends our children will make.
A more spiritual modern spin on Proverbs 12:26 could be this:
“IF PEOPLE YOU ARE WITH ARE PULLING YOU AWAY FROM WHO GOD CALLED YOU TO BE—YOU ARE WITH THE WRONG PEOPLE!” (-Brandon Berner)
Instead of being reactive, it is always wiser and more fruitful to be proactive. Instead of focussing our energies on dismantling poor relationships and then building new ones, it’s wiser to simply focus on replacing poor ones with good ones. So divert attention and focus on finding those who are encouraging you to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Did you know there are 59 ‘ONE ANOTHERS’ in the New Testament? On 59 occasions the writers of the New Testament call us to reciprocative action. (i.e. Love one another. Forgive one another. Encourage one another.) Are you in relational proximity to members of the Body of Christ that you can fulfill these commands? And let me remind us that we cannot very well fulfill those commands by staring at the backs of the others’ heads, as we sit in rows of pews facing the front of a sanctuary during Sunday morning worship services. It is going to take the effort and practice of scheduling ‘one another’ time into our weekly calendars. Until it becomes first nature, it is okay to be mechanical about it and intentionally dedicate blocks of our week to nurture godly relationships. As you look at your calendar and life, are you overwhelmed at the thought of allotting time to christian fellowship? For most of us this may be a reality. But that doesn’t make the imbalance okay. It simply reveals to us how far off from the model of the New Testament church life our Western faith has moved. Let’s not throw in the towel at the seemingly monumental task of restructuring our lives. Instead, let us resolve to do something about it. And the best way to correct the course of a ship is always to make incremental and sustainable changes versus cranking the wheel and capsizing the vessel. So what do you say? Will you begin with a baby step in the right direction this week?