The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV)
To a large degree, the friends you choose determine the direction of your life.
Every person you enter into a relationship with has the power to influence you, which is why today’s verse encourages us to choose our friends carefully. We know this is true of kids. We say things like, Little Johnny got in with the wrong crowd, and now he’s in trouble all the time. As adults, sometimes we think we’re immune to the influence of others, but it’s not true.
In reality, we are all impressionable to a certain extent. Our hearts absorb whatever we expose them to, whether we are conscious of it or not.
Not all friendships bring good things into our lives, which is why we can’t become close friends with every person who shows interest in us. Now, I’m not saying that we need to completely avoid people who think or believe differently than we do. In fact, we’re called to reach out and to influence the world for Jesus. However, we do have to be careful when it comes to choosing our close friends.
When it comes to determining how much time is too much time with people who have the potential to negatively influence you, consider this analogy that my dad used to always use. If you’re on an iceberg and it’s melting, you’re okay. But if you’re getting cold, it’s time to get off. In other words, as long as you’re influencing that friend in a positive way, you’re okay. But if you start to notice that you’re being influenced negatively, it’s time to create some distance, and you may even need to move on entirely.