“Be careful who you run around with,” the retired teacher explained to the rising high school freshman.
I sat silently in the salon chair, watching snips of wet hair fall in my lap, and eavesdropped on the conversation.
“Get in with the wrong circle of friends,” she continued, “and you’re headed for trouble.”
I’d given my own children the same advice, but they paid more attention when they heard the message from an “expert.” I guess I wasted all my money on all of Dr. Dobson’s books!
I remember one of the prayers the Dobsons prayed for their children. They asked the Lord to put godly influences in their paths, especially as they got older and might not be as inclined to listen to their parents’ advice.
That made an impression on me, as did Stormie Omartian’s book, “The Power of a Praying Parent.” One of my favorite prayers was Proverbs 13:20,
May Scott and Sarah walk with the wise and grow wise,
not walk with fools and suffer harm.
As parents, we go to great lengths to protect our children, but sometimes they let the wrong people into their inner circle of friends. That’s nothing new, as evidenced by this tragic account in Judges 17-18.
Micah wanted to secure God’s favor in his life. A young, out-of-work Levite crossed his path and Micah went to him for counsel. But instead of faithfully following God’s law, this opportunistic Levite accepted Micah’s offer to be his personal priest and led Micah’s family into idolatry.
Not only that, when a better offer came his way, this Levite left Micah and led the entire tribe of Dan into idolatry.
People come across our paths at different seasons in our lives, and many bless us abundantly. They help us navigate the uncharted territories in our lives.
But other people are not blessings. They may be helpful at first, meeting a need or lending a hand in during a difficult time. As time goes by, however, something seems amiss.
A righteous man is cautious in friendship… ~Prov 12:26a
It’s not always easy to discern because, to the outside world, things look ok. But we have an uneasy feeling. We’re not exactly sure what it is, but something doesn’t add up.
The longer we stay in the relationship, the harder it can be to get out. Just ask my friend, Tereasa.
Searching for a community of faith, Tereasa’s family found what looked to be the perfect fellowship. Over time, however, she discovered herself immersed in a cult. The Lord graciously opened her eyes to the deception, but it wasn’t easy to make the break from the people who’d been her spiritual family.
It’s rarely easy to end a relationship, especially when it’s been a source of strength in our lives. Because we’ve been deceived, we second-guess our judgment. Spiraling thoughts confuse us and we reason, “If it happened once, it could happen again.”
Often we withdraw and wrestle alone with our pain. Sometimes we build walls around our hearts, refusing to let anyone come near.
But God doesn’t want His children living in isolation and fear. He created us for community and He wants our relationships to be a source of strength and encouragement. He wants us to be discerning about those we let influence us.
Our inner circle will determine whether
we grow toward God or stray from Him.
(Care to tweet?)
Our Heavenly Father knows His kids, and wants us to be cautious about who we run around with. I want to be sure I’m running with people who follow hard after Him.
Click to read other posts in the series, Leaving a Godly Legacy.
Be sure to read more about Tereasa’s journey to freedom on her blog, His Pen On My Heart.