My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; let us swallow them alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down to the Pit; we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil; cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse.” My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; but they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. (Proverbs 1:10-18)
Running With The Wrong Friends
Peer pressure is one of the greatest influences upon the hearts of young people. It is not limited to the young as the older heart can fall under the same spell. The early days of forming the character of life is ripe with dangers of running with the wrong kind of people. Many lives are filled with the remorse of youth following after the influences of those who lived in wickedness. Sowing wild oats of freedom always brings a harvest of regret, misery, pain and suffering. Every generation must learn the lesson of the destructive enticement of evil friends.
From birth, a need for acceptance is a part of life. Solomon began his great book of wisdom reminding young people following the wrong kind of friends will end in disaster. So often, the heart will want to be free from the will of the parents forgetting that freedom is never found in the arms of rebellious friends. A young man will declare that he does not want his parents running his life; only to find the friends that led him astray were running his life. Everyone is a slave to something. The prodigal son who sought for freedom from his father found a different kind of slavery in the hog wallow. When sinners entice, a warning flag should remind the young soul dangers awaits.
Friends make the evil they do sound fun and exciting. Shedding innocent blood and robbing neighbors is supposed to be an exhilarating experience. Shock and dismay come when the youth is arrested and imprisoned and he wonders where the fun went. It has all been a lie. No matter how often the crime is committed, there will never be the satisfaction of enough. Life becomes a cycle of misery, fear and anger. There is no joy and there is no happiness.
Young people must be brave to refuse to walk with such friends removing their lives from these influences. There will never be the success promised by lying friends. Solomon clearly points out the only thing that is going to happen is death. So many young people lose their lives because they are at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong kind of people. The glimmering hope of a good life is destroyed because of the friends who tempt the young heart to follow the siren call of peer pressure. The answer is clear: do not walk in the path of friends who are rebellious. You will find yourself in the same pit of despair. Change friends. Live for good things. Be happy.
There’s small choice in rotten apples. (William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, 1594)