Friends play a very vital role in the life of man. The kind of association we keep determines our future, it determines our decisions and it defines who we are. A popular saying proves this: “Show me your friend and I’ll tell you who you are.” Our consciousness most times, doesn’t tell us what we do; it is empowered by the kind of thoughts, the conventions we have been taught, such that we have heard and seen with our eyes.
Friends have been known to ensure one’s successes and in other means, friends have been the cause of one’s failure or even demise as the case may be. Friends can be one’s salvation and they can also be one’s damnation. This is because of the power of influence found in association.
For every relationship, there is a degree of friendship. This degree of friendship determines the kind of influence those involved have on each other. An influence is said to be bad when it doesn’t weigh well on the scale of morals and beliefs; that which is generally acceptable to the society or a particular community. Therefore, one must choose carefully what kind of relationship one encourages. In other words, what makes a man is not just his thoughts but the people he associates with. This can be his friends, co-workers, spouse, siblings, children, neighbours and every other kind of people he meets on a daily basis.
The kind of teachings we listen to also affect us. As a christian, I am attuned to the word of God and it teaches to be careful of evil association. (Read Proverbs 1:10-19, I Corinthians 15:33) A lot of biblical example abound of the results of bad association; King Rehoboam, who refused to hear the cry of his people to relieve their taxes (I Kings 12:1-17) King Ahab who succumbed to his pagan wife, Jezebel in idolatry and other corrupt practices (I Kings 21:25-26) Of these examples and others, there was no record that they were exempted from the consequences due to the fact that they were influenced. No, they suffered the consequences alongside their counterparts. Another noteworthy example is also from the book of I Kings, of a man of God who failed to follow the instructions of the Lord as revealed to him but chose to heed that of a senior prophet. In this scenario, the senior prophet wasn’t even chastised but he (i.e. the man of God) alone got the penalty, of which for him was death. (See I Kings 13)
Seeing may be considered as an oversight. In the world we live in, technological advancements have made sharing so easy. Today, cultures and morals are being mixed due to the advent of television and most especially, the internet. It is very difficult for the youth of today to ascertain if some values are either borrowed or indigent. The downside is that some of these things are at a disadvantage than the advantage they offer. This is why the voice of caution need to linger in our ears everyday if indeed we really have a goal — a future we desire to have.
Associations can make or mar us. They have the power to affect our future. No one can do without associating with another. We all need one another in one respect or another. What needs to be done is to choose our associations carefully. How do we choose our friends? How do we respond to the teachings we hear? What is our weighing balance to the numerous conventions and lifestyle we are exposed to everyday? These are the things that defines us. Watch your association.