The saying, “If you lay down with dogs you’ll get up with fleas” is not in the Bible. But the idea is definitely Biblical. Those we associate with can help us or harm us. Consider Paul’s words:
“Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”
The wisest ever, Solomon wrote:
If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason;
like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
we shall find all precious goods,
we shall fill our houses with plunder;
throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse”—
my son, do not walk in the way with them;
hold back your foot from their paths,
for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood.
For in vain is a net spread
in the sight of any bird,
but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
they set an ambush for their own lives.
Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
We are warned that our associates, our friends, make real and lasting impacts in our lives. Sadly, the more wayward the friend the worse the impact. One would hope that the one with higher values would uplift the unrighteous but it is not so. Preachers decry the dangerous union of believer and non-believer in marriages because the faithlessness of the unbeliever is so powerful. While there are certainly exceptions, the overwhelming majority of such unions end in spiritual catastrophe.
When Lot was separated from faithful Abram he moved among the wicked people of Sodom and Gomorrah. His decision to move “his tent as far as Sodom” proved horrendous and cost him his family (Genesis 13:12-13 ff).
But such damage is not limited to marriage or even to intimate relationships. Our youth should learn the danger of close associations with the unrighteous. Parents must provide direction for their children and must be prepared to prohibit some friendships. Every parent must monitor their children’s Facebook pages and any other social media which they use. Parents must, on occasion, be intrusive into the lives of their children.
A Christian can and should have relationships with unbelievers. Life will undoubtedly require some interaction with the wicked. But it is wise to say that a Christian’s closest, dearest friends ought to be other Christians.
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans