Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:10-16
Do not do as the wicked do or follow the path of evildoers. Avoid their haunts. Turn away and go somewhere else. Proverbs 4:14-15
“I was at this sleep-over with a whole bunch of girls,” Abby explained. “It was at Jenna’s house. I’m close friends with most of the girls, but there were a couple I didn’t know well. It was about midnight when one of those girls said she wanted to go toilet-paper the house of a girl no one likes. Not many of us dared to go. But four girls went.”
“Well, we had a sleep-over again a couple months later. Next time TPing didn’t sound so bad. Pretty soon everyone was saying things like, ‘Yeah, I hate her too. Let’s go do it.’
“After a while you begin to feel the pressure. If a lot of your friends talk about doing something wrong, your conscience kind of goes to sleep, and it’s tough to keep feeling it’s wrong. After a while, you say, ‘Sure. Why not?’ so you do it!”
That’s sharp insight—and it shows why we need to be careful who we hang out with. It’s no huge news that the wrong friends can pull us into wrong behavior that can tear us away from our parents and Christian friends. When we wind up on the wrong side of right, we’re going to feel some painful loneliness.
Talk about it: What can you do when you get caught in that kind of pressure-packed situation? How can you make choices that prevent that situation?
Peer pressure, of course, can also push you in the right way. It can be a huge help in living how God wants. As one guy said, “I know my friends have a great influence on who I am and also on what my values are. Godly friends can be a real source of encouragement when I’m struggling to do what’s right.” If you want the right kind of peer pressure, you need the right friends.
Those words you read from Proverbs contain two helpful pieces of advice. First, there is a clear warning on the danger of being caught in the wrong crowd. Sometimes you need to run from the wrong people, no matter how fun they seem. Then there is unbeatable encouragement on the worth of being with the right people. You need to hunt for like-minded people to hang with. Aim at friendships with people who share your sense of right and wrong.
Like it or not, you tend to become like the people you hang out with. So grab hold of God’s wisdom. Make your closest friends the kind of people you want to be like!
TALK: How are your friends shaping the person you are becoming? Who can you get closer to who will help pull you in the right direction?
PRAY: Lord, give us wisdom as we choose our friends. We want them to be people who help us follow you.
ACT: Be a great friend today. Encourage someone to choose to do the right thing.