Bad Apples in the Barrel
Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Bad company corrupts good morals. 1 Corinthians 15:33, NASB
“My parents are always nagging me about my friends,” Hailey fussed. “They say I shouldn’t hang out with ‘kids who look like trouble.’ I know my friends aren’t perfect. But my dad and mom must think I’m a two-year-old. They want my best friends to be Barney and Mister Rogers.”
Ever had your parents get after you because of the people you choose to be around? Maybe you’ve heard them say things like, “I don’t like how you act when you’re around so-and-so” or “I don’t want you to act like so-and-so just did” or even “I think so-and-so is a bad influence on you.”
Parents do not have eyes in the backs of their heads. But whether you’re four or fourteen years old, parents can spot trouble you don’t see. Grown-ups don’t just look at what your friends are like right now. They try really hard to peer into your future. And sometimes they see trouble down the road-that someone you’re close to is steering into a ditch. You might be sure your parents are wrong, or deep down you might know they’re right. But either way, they know that bad friends can slide off the road and take you with them-dragging you away from God, family, and healthy friends (see 1 Corinthians 15:33).
Being smart in choosing our friends helps us become the people God wants us to be. If we’re willing to admit that our close friends have a big influence on us—and they do—then we will want to be careful whom we choose as our closest friends.
Talk about it: So how can we tell good friends from ones who might pull us in the wrong direction?
Here’s one sure way: Ask yourself how a friend changes your behavior-and don’t kid yourself when you answer. Let’s assume you’re a sweet, kind, obedient, thoughtful, responsible person. Suppose you find a new friend, and after a few weeks or months you’re goofing off at school or getting sassy at home. What happened? You might feel that your new friend is just helping you to loosen up. But “friends” who drag you into trouble aren’t friends, even if you have fun together.
Do you have a friend who is steering you away from following God? Then it’s time to back off and find better friends. That’s tough-but in the long run, it’s not as tough as staying in a friendship that hurts you!
TALK: When have you had a friend who tugged you in the wrong direction? With which better friend might God want you to grow closer?
PRAY: Ask God to give you really good friends who help you get close to him.
ACT: If you have a friend who has been dragging you down, talk to your parents about whether you need to take a break from hanging out together or break off the friendship completely.