This is not the blog that I intended to write. It is definitely not one that I wanted to write. It is, however, one I am compelled to write. This week I learned of the death of a family member. I prefer to remember him as a young man full of promise. He was smart, handsome, charming, and athletic. He had a full scholarship to a prestigious university. He seemed destined for greatness. Sadly, somewhere along the way, he lost his way. He began to hang out with "friends" who introduced him to drugs and alcohol. Those who loved him dearly watched his life disintegrate. There were moments, even some extended periods of recovery, but each time he would return to his old friends and sink back into destruction. He died alone in a seedy hotel room. My heart is heavy.

How many times have we heard it? How many times have we told our children or friends? Choose carefully those who you let influence you. Measure their words by the scriptures. Line up the path they want you to take with the path that God has for you. Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. Solomon somberly warns us to examine the influences in our lives and to choose to walk with the wise.

Walk with the wise and become wise;
associate with fools and get in trouble.
— Proverbs 13:20

The company you keep impacts your choices and influences your life. In this Proverb, Solomon warns us about the people we let speak into our lives and influence our actions. Choose carefully.

Father, thank you for these words of wisdom from Solomon. Help me to be ever mindful of the things and the people that I allow to influence my life. Help me to choose to walk with the wise. And Father, help me to be a positive, wise influence in the lives of my family and friends. I choose carefully the words I speak, the influence I carry, and those who I let influence me.