Bad company corrupts good morals
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33
1 Corinthians 15:30-34
30 And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour?
31 I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you.
32 And what value was there in fighting wild beasts – those people of Ephesus – if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’
s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”
34 Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.
Mom Warned Me about Running with a Bad Crowd was published on December 10, 2014.
He often heard his mother say that so-and-so had “fallen in with the wrong crowd.” It was intended as a precautionary tale. His mom was trying to warn me that people often adopt the bad habits of the company they keep.
At any age, we are shaped by the habits of our circle of peers. “Social learning, as behavior analysts have discovered, has more influence on adults than we would like to believe, manifesting itself in sometimes subconscious ways.”
Further, “researchers have discovered an ‘emotional contagion’ phenomenon.” That is our emotions tend to converge with those of our peers. Solomon suggests that we do a self-check regarding the crowd we run with. He offers some guidance.
1. Take inventory. Identify people with negative energy who tend to express an overall bad attitude. They often drain others of energy. Such folks often complain and express a great deal of anger and frustration.
2. Pull back from spending time with them and put some space between you and them.
3. Be intentional and set wise priorities. Seek to be with people who have a successful, upbeat spirit.
4. Elicit input from people you want to emulate. When possible seek their advice, guidance, and mentorship.
5. Work at developing your own positive mental outlook. Develop and reinforce wise, positive habits.
These principles are nothing new. Solomon offered the same advice 3000 years ago.
Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
24 Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people,
25 or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.
Who would have thought? The Father placed wise counsel in His book for children of the King to follow to live successfully in a fallen world.
REFLECT & PRAY
What is bad company? Bad company does not encourage you to walk closer to the Father (Stanley).
Father help me to be aware of the attitudes and dispositions of those around me. Encourage me to make wise choices that I may be wise and walk with You.
Children of the King have been declared righteous and forgiven. Their sins are washed away through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:11 You were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Paul exhorts us to live exemplary lives in a fallen world. He shows us the way
Paul references a common saying of the day that was derived from Menander, a Greek dramatist from Athens. “Bad company corrupts good character.” Such wisdom is recognized across generations and cultures. “Keeping company with evil companions can have a corrosive influence on one’s own attitudes and behavior” (Fee). This implies that we should disassociate ourselves, evil companions, and their conversations.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good character.
The Greek word translated as deceived or fooled is planao. Planao meansto cause to wander, to go astray, or be misled. In the ancient world, human observers noted that the stars, the sun, and the moon move through the heavens in predictable regularity. This was not so for planets such as Venus or Mars. They seemed to wander through the heavens. Hence they were called planets, wanderers.
The Greek word translated as corrupts or ruins is phtheiro which means to waste, pine, corrupt, destroy, defile, spoil, subvert, or bring to a worse state.
The English word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos translated as character, morals, habits, or manners. It refers to the inherent complex of habits and attitudes which determine a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions.
Regrettably, we often choose the wrong crowd to hang with and delude ourselves in the process. It is as though the apostle Paul shouting at us: stop it, stop it!
He wants us to stop deceiving ourselves, and/or allow ourselves to be misled. When we are deceived, our beliefs and subsequent behavior are affected.
How much bad influence does it take to get us off course and change the trajectory of our lives? Just a little.
1 Corinthians 5:6 Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?
It is important to recognize that we allow ourselves to be misled. It is a decision that we make. We decide to do so. But the anonymous others who do the misleading share responsibility.
This thought is expressed elsewhere in Scripture
1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols, however, you were led.
The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of the culpability of those who lead the innocent astray.
Matthew 18:6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
The film, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade speaks to the outcome of our choices: life or death. The Grail Knight who is guarding the Grail warns, “You must choose. But choose wisely. For as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”
© Dr. H 2022