We must never underestimate the power of influence. When your Godly friend sharpens you, it’s a good thing. But the opposite is also true. The Apostle Paul gives us a stern warning: “‘Don’t be fooled ... bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT)
Solomon also teaches us a valuable lesson on influence: whom we hang out with affects us. He reminds us to stay away from people who exhibit foolish behaviors such as gossip and division (Proverbs 16:28), anger and violence (Proverbs 16:29), lying (Proverbs 12:22), greed (Proverbs 15:27), and lack of compassion (Proverbs 29:7).
The effects they have on our lives can be subtle, yet powerful. Many times, you can’t spot their negative influence right away. And sometimes not before it’s too late. So, while it’s important to set boundaries with people who display negative behaviors, we must always pray for them. Ask God to empower you to have a stronger influence in their lives.
Father, I pray for my family, friends and others in my life who behave in ways that don’t please You. May I be a light to them, reflecting you in everything I say and do. Give me the wisdom, clarity, and guidance to choose the right friends and witness to others who need you. In Jesus’ name I pray.