It’s one of the well-known rules: surround yourself with good friends. Because if we hang out with people who don’t respect the law, who have bad morals, or don’t care about their future, then they'll influence us, right? After all, isn't that what we've been told - to stay away from people like that?
Today one of my friends from church walked up to me and told me that a mutual friend was doing some things out of the normal – joining bad groups, promoting wrong things, etc. She then went on to tell me that he’d better stop; otherwise we would have to break off our friendship with him because of his potential bad influence.
But, even though I saw her point, I don’t completely agree. Because if friends are having problems, then I think that’s the worst time to leave them. I mean, what kind of friends are we if we leave when our friend needs us most – when our friend needs our advice most?
Even in the Bible, if you’re religious, there’s proof: Jesus didn’t just hang out with the good guys – he hung out with the prostitutes and the tax collectors. He didn’t shun them; he actually sought after them in a way. And I think perhaps we forget that, because sometimes we run away from people who don’t follow us, rather than staying, always patient – always waiting.
In addition, if religious people believe in God, how can they hate people whom God loves? If God does not hate the worst people within the world, how can they hate them? Sometimes I think that our idea of religion can blind us – we try to be good by leaving people who might impact us in a bad way, and yet, maybe that’s not quite what we’re supposed to do.
So whether we’re religious or not, we should give second chances. Someone who makes a mistake should not be forever condemned. We need to be there for our friends, not throw them away because they're doing something wrong. We need to help our friends not just in the good times, but also in bad. Because, in the end, we shouldn’t just remember that they can influence us, but also that we can influence them.