Friday, April 15, 2011
When I was growing up, I never heard my mom or dad talk to me about friends that I couldn’t associate with. In fact, I grew up in a small town in eastern Colorado with a population of 200 counting the cats and dogs. I never had any restrictions on who I could play with or who was off-limits. In fact, I had difficulty finding friends to play with in light of the limited kids in my age bracket.
As I became a parent, the opposite was true in terms of the environment. We lived for the most part in the city with unlimited children for our children to play with. I remember when Victoria was in second grade. We got a report from the teacher that she had acted up in class and was marked tardy for her class. When checking into behavior that was new to Victoria and us, we found out that she was befriending a little girl who was constantly getting into trouble and was encouraging Victoria to do the same. We put the pieces together and set a boundary that Victoria was not to play with this little girl. Her behavior returned to a respectful attitude toward us and the teachers and the rules.
Today I was reading in II Chronicles about Jehoshaphat. He was the son of Asa and was a good king who, “didn’t consult the Baals, but sought the God of his father.” (II Chron. 17:3-4). Jehoshaphat had married a daughter of Ahab, king of Israel, who was a very wicked king. I’m sure some of you have feelings of your in-laws that are like Jehoshaphat’s. The problem Jehoshaphat had involved his working with Ahab. You see, Ahab wanted Jehoshaphat to fight with him against Ramoth Gilead. They both sought a prophet who told them not to go to war, but they both went anyway and were defeated. Ahab was killed, but Jehoshaphat lived and came back to his own country. A person from the Lord (seer) came out to meet Jehoshaphat and said, “Should you help the wicked and love those who had the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is on you, however there is some good in you” (II Chron. 19:2-3). Jehoshaphat was told not to associate or go to war with his father-in-law because of his wickedness and he didn’t listen to the Lord.
It reminds me of what Paul said in II Corinthians 6:19, “Do not be yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians said that bad company corrupts good character (I Cor. 15:33).
On this journey, we need to be careful the company we keep.