Who is next to you?

My childhood years were quite interesting. One of the things I remember vividly is my mum constantly warning us to stay away from strangers or not to allow anyone we didn’t know to come into the house. Soon she began to screen the friends we brought into the house; wanting to know how we knew them and who their parents were and so on. She was often more concerned about their character. “Bad friends” were never permitted to enter the house again…at least not while she was around. It was an important but salient lesson that I was being taught at the time.

The people you let into your life or bring into your inner circle are very crucial. I’m sure at some point or the other in our lives, we’ve all been admonished to mind the company we keep. Sometimes, we were warned against certain friends even when we didn’t see anything wrong with them or their behaviour. Do you know why you should mind the company you keep? It is because they can either make you or break you. Yes, that is how influential friends are, especially those in your inner circle.

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve followed the 2015 general elections with amazement. One thing that has struck me is the quality of people our ex-president chose to surround himself with. He wasn’t a bad person. I believe he just surrounded himself with the wrong people. His inner circle was filled with people who gave reality a slight tint. Even till the last minute before he lost the elections, they were still distorting reality. That cost him the presidency. It’s sad but it is something we can all learn from.

Surround yourself with people who will look you in the eye and tell you the truth as it is; whether or not you are ready to accept it. Don’t settle for people who will sugar-coat the truth. You will not go far with such people. That’s a guarantee. After misleading you, such people will only end up abandoning you. Examine your close circle of friends and the people who you listen to the most. Are they always honest with you? Do they challenge you to become a better person or they keep presenting your past achievements as your greatest? Are they people who stand by you in difficult times or do they use your story as the latest gist of the hour? Do they bring you back to the right path when you steer off course or do they cheer you on as you journey on the road to destruction? Do they uphold you in prayer when you are not in the room or would they rather mock you and gossip about you instead?

These are important questions to ask. When I see people with a battalion of friends, I get worried for them. How many of these friends are actually of importance to their lives? Some people claim they have dozens of friends but in their hour of need, no one turns up. Worse still are those who are led down the wrong path by friends and they have to deal with the painful results alone afterwards. Mind the company you keep. A multitude followed Jesus but He had His special 12 with whom He had intimate communion with and amongst those 12, He had the three who were the closest to Him. Not everybody can be close to you. You can have the multitude if you have the energy for that kind of thing but be selective about who you let into your inner circle. Screen them, observe them and pray about them.

Life is sweet when you have people to share it with, but it is sweeter when you share it with the right people. The wrong people can make life very miserable for you.

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