“Don’t make friends with an angry person, and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered one, or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
You’ve probably heard before the idea that bad company corrupts good character. Paul said that. Your parents probably quoted it when you were hanging out with a crowd they didn’t like. You may have said it to your kids. The fact is, the friends you keep will determine the direction and quality of your life. So, what kind of friends are you keeping?
Solomon here said that we should avoid befriending someone who is angry all the time. The reason is that we’ll learn from them to be angry. That quick, hot anger won’t do us any good. It’ll land us in a trap that won’t be easy to find our way out of.
Given the invitation here, let’s think about it for a moment. What kind of friends are you keeping? What kind of an impact are they having on you? Are they life-giving or life-draining? Sometimes we spend time with folks because we feel like we have something to give them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In some cases, sharing the Gospel for example, it can be a good and wise thing. But when a friend is primarily relationally taking from us, we need to wisely limit our time with him. This doesn’t mean we need friends from whom we are draining life. It means we need friends who are mutually beneficial to our broader walk with Christ.
How about this one: Are they encouraging you to enrich the most important relationships in your life, or are they sucking the life out of them? Your most important relationships are with your spouse if you are married, your kids, your parents, and your 2-3 friends who are truly your soul mates. Friends who don’t fall into one of those categories should serve to enrich those key relationships. If they don’t, you need to limit your time with them and the influence you allow them to have on you.
One more just as some food for thought: Is your friend one who you need for the season your life is currently in? Parents need the support of other parents to make it. Married people need other married people to be their primary relational draws. Someone who is in a totally different season of life than we are can certainly be a warm acquaintance, but she probably cannot offer the kind of relational substance we need right now. Those relationships, even with someone who is a good and godly person, need to be limited.
The people in your life matter. They matter a great deal. Choose them carefully because they will shape who you become and the path you walk through life. If you don’t have the kind of people you need in your life, be intentional about seeking them out. It won’t always be easy, but you’ll sure be glad you did.