“You are who you hang out with”
Simple words that still ring so loudly in my ears.
When I was a teenager, before I would leave our home, my mama would say one simple phrase, ”Shannon, remember, you are who you hang out with. So choose wisely.”
I knew exactly what she meant. Even if I wasn’t doing the same things they were, people would associate me with whatever crowd I was around. My heart did not want to displease my parents, so I would try my hardest to make good decisions. That is, until the day I got into a pinch.
I was 14 years old and knew it all. I had a new friend, whom my mama warned me of, and of course, I didn’t think she was right. This friend made some very poor decisions and because I had spent the night at her home, I was involved in those bad decisions. I learned the hard way, that no matter what you have done, you are who you hang with. Guilty by association.
In that bad decision, I gained for myself a few lessons - First and last police station visit, 6 month punishment, broken heart due to loss of a friend. I should have listened to my mama.
Proverbs 4 says very plainly, we need to listen to sound advice or doctrine.
From beginning to end, it speaks of choosing wisdom as a friend, gaining understanding and walking away from wickedness. Keeping ourselves in the ways of righteousness.
I can just hear a parent speaking to their child, “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.....”
How many eye rolls do you think this parent got from their teenager?
Aren’t we always trying to warn our children, guiding them the best we know how. Didn’t our parents instruct us in the same way?
It sounds like a father’s plea for their child to look at the past and not make the same mistakes.
It is also a guide book to help them make the right decisions.
Telling them to constantly seek after wisdom and keeping her as a close friend.
But doesn’t that take effort?
We all have a choice to make. We can choose to walk in paths of righteousness or in paths of wickedness...
All of the verses in this proverb are important, but the last 8 verses tell us how to stay diligent in keeping our hearts and affections on righteousness and keeping ourselves from evil.
"My son, give attention to My words;
Incline your ear to My sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil."
So today, let us heed the word of God, allowing it to help us gain wisdom and understanding. Inclining our ears, heart and affections towards His will. Let’s clean up our hearts so that we are capable of being rightfully established in our ways.
Let’s gain understanding from others, so we don’t have to gain the lessons the hard way.
Keeping our eyes fixed on Him, trusting Him so that we stay in peace. (Isaiah 26:3)
Never forget, You are who you hang out with.
Choose Wisdom, she is a great friend.