Known By the Company You Keep
Let’s read Proverbs 13:15-20:
Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard. 16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly. 17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, But a faithful ambassador brings health. 18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored. 19 A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. 20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
We are all to an extent known by the company that we keep. Two verses in this section make this point; both in a symbolic sense. First, verse 18 tells us that poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction. That is so true isn’t it? We all make mistakes all of the time. We all are in need of correction. But if we don’t receive correction, we will bring shame upon ourselves and to an extreme extent, poverty. But the opposite is also true. He who regards rebuke will be honored. Even the righteous make lots of mistakes…but if we regard the rebuke and learn from it, we will be honored.
Then in verse 20 we find a verse that I have memorized in my own life. Have you ever heard someone say, “My friends don’t influence me.” Or, “They may all do bad things but not when I’m around” or “I can handle it”. Unfortunately, these phrases usually precede “destruction”. Verse 20 tells us that the companion of fools will be destroyed. I believe another way this truth has been phrased is “evil company corrupts good manners” or something like that. When we spend most of our time with wise men and women we will be wise. When we spend much time with fools, we will suffer destruction. This is a principle that is played out over and over again, especially among youth and young adults.
You will be known by the company that you keep and the company you keep will impact you, either positively or negatively…so keep “good company”.