“Strength of character may be learned at work, but beauty of character is learned at home.” – Henry Drummond
When I was in Chinese class during elementary, I remember reading a story about a mother who moved house three times because she didn’t want her son to be influenced by bad neighbors.
But rather than trying to protect me from “bad” people, I am thankful that my mom was such a great influence in my life. Being a teacher, she taught me the disciplines of integrity, responsibility and diligence.
When I was young, I followed my more influential and more dominant friends around, who were the leaders in school and at church. My mom taught me to stick close to God, read the Bible, and she prayed for me to have wisdom to differentiate the right from wrong. She was hands-on in her guidance, and she helped me to realize that I could influence other people instead of just being influenced myself.
Today, we are constantly bombarded by billboards, TV ads, social media, information technology, popular movies, sports personalities, along with religious and political leaders. As parents, do we know if our children’s friends are God-fearing? What our children are reading? What do our children do with their friends when they spend time together? What kind of music, movies, and video games do they like? We need to be aware of the forces that influence our children’s thoughts and the people who influence their daily lives.
My mother allowed us (my sister and me) to have sleepovers. She was not worried because she trusted us. Mama instilled in us Christian values strong enough to stand firm—to do what is right. She knew our friends and the family background of our friends. They were friends at school and in church. She knew we were in good company.
As Paul writes in 1 Corinithians 15:33: “Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character.” In this passage, Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to hold fast to the belief that the resurrection of Jesus is an important truth of our faith—for there were many among them who didn’t believe in the resurrection. We, too, must cling to the legacies of our faith and remember that good company promotes good character, whereas bad company corrupts good character.
Dear Jesus, let me follow in your footsteps closely that when people see me, they will know I am your disciple. Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. Amen.