Pastor’s Pen: Hanging out with the wrong crowd

When you hear about a Christian teen going to a movie, bowling or hanging out with peers that you know are unsaved and you know don’t follow God with their lives, what is your first thought?

As you were reading that question, you probably had one of two thoughts. The first is a verse my mother quoted to me often, “Do not be misled, ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (2 Corinthians 15:13). It’s a basic warning that “you become like those you hang around”. If you hang out with people who do what’s wrong then you will become a person who does what’s wrong. How terrible that a teen would compromise that way.

While most would come to that conclusion; there is a second passage that may have occurred to some. In Matthew 9:9-13 Jesus was having dinner with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees, religious leaders of the day, asked Jesus’ disciples why He would eat with those people. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” This means we need to spend time with those who are unsaved because they need Jesus. We must go to them and spend time with them so we can be a godly influence on their lives and share the gospel with them. How wonderful that a teen would care that much!

Two different opinions, and, yet; both are true and biblical. How can that be? It seems an impossible quandary. However, there is a balancing factor we leave out with those simple definitions – a shining light. Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Did you catch that? You are a light and, it is assumed, you are a light that cannot be hidden. Your faith is to be obvious in your daily life- no matter who you’re around.

This doesn’t mean we should not keep up our guard. It maens we will put on the full armor of God. We will meet together with other believers to encourage one another. We will go into all the world - even to those who aren’t “respectable” and not look down on them, but view them as people with a great need, the need for Jesus Christ.