Jolly Good Friends

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This chromolithograph c. 1897 is entitled “Jolly Good Friends.” Friends who are jolly and good love us, look out for our welfare, help us when we are in need, give us companionship, and bless us in many other ways.

Courtesy Library of Congress.

However, the Bible warns us that not all friends are jolly and good. Some are quite the opposite.

In the early 1990s, Ray taught math and Bible in a school for one semester, while maintaining his work in fulltime ministry. Many experiences at that school illustrate Biblical teachings about the way other people influence us. However, one particular experience illustrates those teachings particularly well.

Two main groups of students were in Ray’s classes: students who listened well and completed their assignments on time and students who were disruptive and did not complete their assignments consistently. During the semester, a new boy joined one of Ray’s classes. The student began well, but Ray watched as he began to hang around with the students who were disruptive. Gradually the new student drifted into the same behaviors as his new companions.

One of the many benefits of homeschooling is the opportunity to have a larger influence on who your children’s companions are than you would have if your children were participating in many other educational options.

Ray was sad to watch this proverb of Solomon lived out in one of his students.

One who walks with wise people will be wise,
But a companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 13:20

Here are more scriptures that also warn us about people who can undo what we have worked so hard to instill.

Do not be deceived:
“Bad company corrupts good morals.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

Like a trampled spring and a polluted well,
So is a righteous person who gives way before the wicked.
Proverbs 25:26

Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Psalm 1:1

Finding friends who can influence us for bad is often pretty easy. It’s worth it to wait and work to find the jolly good ones.

Leave me, you evildoers,
So that I may comply with the commandments of my God.
Psalm 119:115




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