Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern the words of knowledge.
The joints of my thumbs were actually sore. There was an indisputable burning sensation that found its source at the base of my wrist and resonated up to my knuckles with every passionate press. I had blisters on my fingers and my eyes stung due to the lack of light, complimented by the intense strain of spending so much time in front of the television. To the rest of the campus it may have been final exams week, but to my roommates and me, it was the playoffs for a John Madden football season on the Playstation. I honestly don’t recall what the outcome of the season was, but I can tell you I didn’t break any records with my grades that semester either.
It’s amazing to me what I can justify as a priority with the help of a couple of friends. Not a one of us would have placed so much intensity and passion into a Playstation game if the others had not been in the room. This was the story of our college career though. It was easy to return to the dorm and study if nothing was going on. Once a couple of us arrived though, the lure of male bonding, three-deep on the living room couch, was greater than any of us could resist. Common sense was calling from every direction, but we pressed on hard, never taking our eyes off of the television. In no way am I referring to my friends as fools, after all, where would that leave me. Nonetheless, I can’t help but to think of that semester when reading Proverbs 14:7.
The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that one’s whole ability to make rational decisions can be greatly hindered or improved by the company you find yourself surrounded by. Although the Bible refers to a person who seeks the counsel of others as wiser than those who are right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15), it also places much importance on where your counsel comes from. It is with this truth that I encourage you to evaluate those you spend the most time with. Are they edifying your relationship with the Lord, or only causing strain? When you approach them with problems and difficulties is the advice offered to you in line with the word of God or secular standards? Proverbs 14:12 teaches us that “there is a way which seems right to man, but in the end leads to death.” We must be extremely careful that those closest to our hearts do not offer us the ways of man, but rather, the wisdom of God.
I can recall a couple of times when I have had to distant myself from certain individuals. It’s easy to convince yourself that you are above the cautions of Scripture. It’s easy to believe that you somehow have a greater will power than the Lord gives you credit for. I understand your reasoning; often those that do us the most harm are the only friends we have. It is at this point that we must ask the most difficult of questions. When a distinction has to be made, “Will I live my life in pursuit of God and a holy lifestyle, or attempt to be the best person I can while surrounded by less than godly influences?” It’s your decision, I pray that you would choose wisely.
The naive believes everything, but the prudent man considers his steps. A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless (Proverbs 14:1, 16).