Choose Your Friends Wisely

By Jeff Klick

Proverbs 13:20 - "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." If you are concerned about who your children run with, you have probably been accused of being overprotective. Well, we are protective, but are we overprotective? It seems to me that one of our jobs is to ensure that our children (or our spouses or we!) do not have fools for companions.

There is a real enemy who hates you and your family. His mission is to destroy you anyway he can, through any means possible. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to add a fool to your family. A fool is not a simpleton, or someone with a low IQ, but someone who says there is no God, or does not honor God with his or her lifestyle. The Devil will try to lead you astray through the company you keep, or allow the members of your household to keep.

Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:33 "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good morals or character." There is a price to pay for allowing a "fool" into your family's life. We must be careful whom we allow our children to associate with. Our children are so impressionable. We need to know who is making the impression, and what that impression is!

Should you allow your child to spend the night with someone? How long should I allow my child out of my sight without checking on him? Should be constantly watching our bad attitudes? If I see an attitude problem, should I find out where it came from? All of these questions, and hundreds more, should go through your mind as a parent. God will hold us responsible for the influences we allow into our children's lives from TV, books, or friends.

The friends we should encourage our children to be with are those who will challenge them to walk with the Lord. Friends who will pull them up to a higher calling, not drag them down into mediocrity. Our children need good role models, godly role models who reinforce what we are teaching them at home, not "friends" who tell them "your parents are so weird," or "your parents are so strict," etc.

Choosing whom you interact with on a regular basis can be one of the most important decisions you ever make! A wise man will hang around with wise men, and will become still wiser. A fool will hang around with fools, and sink even farther.

I've often said, "the big difference between a child who avoids trouble and the child who ends up in trouble, is one word, supervision." When we make a commitment to be actively involved in the lives of our children, we are on our way to success. We must know whom our children are with. What type of influence are they? Do they encourage my children to respect me, or reject my authority? Do they encourage them to walk with the Lord, or to try the "forbidden fruit"? When I do allow my children to spend the night, how do they come home? Does it require hours of "deprogramming"" Did they watch movies and do activities that I would not have approved of if it was in my home? Do they come home with a good report?

All of this may seem like too much bother, but the stakes are incredibly high! Our children are at risk. We are given the task to see to it that they choose wisely, and make good friends. Bad company will corrupt good morals. It rarely works the other way around!

Proverbs 27:23 - "Know well the condition of your flocks." I believe this applies to our families. We need to be involved enough to see the dangers and hide ourselves and our families. We need to see the influences in our children's lives and help them make the correct decision. If we pay the price now and help them make good decisions when they are young, we will save ourselves (and them!) much grief when they are older.

Proverbs 29:15 - "A child left to himself will bring shame to his mother." We do not have to do much to fail as parents. Just leave our children alone' We must help them choose correctly until they are able to choose on their own. Let's see to it that our children do not walk with fools, but with the wise. Then they will be wise when they grow up, and can train their children to be wise after them.