There are many Scriptures in the Bible about friends, friendship, and associations. There are also Scriptures that warn us to stay away from bad friends or friends that can influence us negatively.
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul. (Proverbs 22: 24-25)
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good characters or habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
The company we keep matters. Friends can influence us to do good or bad, use good words or bad words and curses, get closer to God or draw away from Him, be committed to marriage or seek the divorce, succeed in life or be destroyed, and that is why we need to be careful and prayerful. Jonadab was a bad influence on Amnon.
- But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Now Jonadab was a very crafty man.
- And he said to him, “Why are you, the king’s son, becoming thinner day after day? Will you not tell me?”
Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
- So Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me food, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand. 14 … being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.(2 Samuel 13:3-5,14)
I recently learned of a lady who used to love the Lord and was very zealous for Him, but through association, she now believes a lot of wrong doctrines, and tells people that it is wrong to pay tithe and there is no reason to go to church to worship God.
In Love On The Pulpit, Bosun raped Teni, a family member, when she was eight years old, and he, a teenager. Years later when they met at a birthday party, Bosun (now a child of God) called her to apologise. He said, “Before I apologise, I want you to know that I was a victim of bad company and poor upbringing … My friends were doing it and well, I got influenced. I wasn’t doing well in school either. I was failing and I became frustrated. There was no one to vent my anger on but helpless girls … ”
And in Shadows From The Past, Mary became a campus prostitute through friends’ influence, and she in turn, influenced her younger sister who later died.
Friends can affect our values, behaviours, attitudes and beliefs. Their ways rub off on us and we may begin to emulate them without realising it as the changes happen subtly and gradually. They also define us, and people think we are like our friends. If you are not like your friends who smoke, drink, and are wayward, then there’s no point hanging around them.
- Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
- And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?(2Corinthians 13:14-15)
You must have heard these popular sayings: Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are; show me your friends and I will show you your character. These statements are true.
If your friends have been influencing you negatively, you need to change them and have good friends, for why should you die?
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11b)
Why should you allow bad friends pull you down in life?
What to do about bad friends
Friendship is a choice. If you think you can work on your bad friends and influence them to do good, please do, but sometimes, staying and keeping in touch with bad friends is not a wise decision. Some people should be dumped.