Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hangin' With the Wrong Crowd

1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be deceived:  "Evil company corrupts good habits."


In seventh grade, my science teacher, while kind, soft-spoken, and knowledgeable, is a poor disciplinarian.

It does not take long for the class clowns and the talkative children to realize this.  All around me, I see students of stellar behavior in other classes devolve into chattering, note-passing, spitball-launching, downright disrespectful hooligans.

I am brought up to have respect for my elders, especially my teachers.  I follow the rules, do my work quietly and efficiently, and listen carefully to instructions.

At first, I comport myself appropriately.  Within two weeks, I am clinging, white-knuckled, to the remnant of good conduct.  Feeling my grasp slipping.  Unable to concentrate due to the chaos around me.

I give in.  Become part of the madness.

Giggling.  Chatting.  Scribbling notes not on the lecture, but to pass to friends.

Paying little or no attention to this sweet, patient teacher.

Sinking.  Drifting down to the level of the lowest common denominator.

My once good habits corrupted beyond recognition.

Because, that is what often happens when we hang with the wrong crowd.  Ignore our parents' admonition that we will be judged by the company we keep.

Which is exactly how the Scribes and Pharisees perceive Jesus.  How they judge Him.

Why does he eat with tax collectors?  Why does he mingle with sinner?  Why does he allow this raggedy band of followers to eat with unclean hands?

But, unlike us, the Lord doesn't stoop to the level of the bad company surrounding Him.

To the contrary!

His goodness, His mercy, His teachings forgive, restore, and lift up those around Him.

Place them firmly on the path to repentance.

And they turn . . .

Cleansed and renewed.

To Him.

To God.
~
Were you ever judged by the company you kept?  Do you judge others that way?

Will you pray with me?
Give us the strength, Father, not to be swayed or influenced by persons whose morals are less than they should be.  Let our focus be ever on You and what You expect from us.  May we, by our prayers and example, lift up those around us and help set their feet on Your solid ground.  Amen.

Readings
Psalms 97, 99 or 115
Exodus 12:40-51
1 Corinthians 15:(29) 30-41
Matthew 28:1-16  

28 comments:

  1. Yes, very much so was I judged because of friends I had, not that they were bad or the wrong crowed for me to be with, they just were different. I am sure I have judged others in this way myself.

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    1. It's difficult for us to NOT label or judge others by how they look or talk or act, especially if we perceive them as different from ourselves. But, Jesus teaches us to view others in an entirely different light - one of love and compassion.
      Thanks so much for stopping by, RoseAnn!
      Blessings!

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  2. Clearing away the weeds. Focusing on the positive people in your life and moving away from those who would do you harm. That can be a challenging lesson to learn but one we must learn if we want to live a healthy life. We know whats's right and wrong. We simply have to be strong enough to follow through.

    Thanks for these little reminders, Martha.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Thank you, Chris, for stopping by today.
      Yes, to live a healthy, fulfilling life, we must move away from the negative and embrace the positive. When we are not feeling strong enough to follow through on our own, we can lean on the Lord for help and guidance.
      Blessings to you!

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  3. Martha, I was cracking up reading the first part of this post because I experienced it! LOL! This would happen when we would get a substitute teacher and then everyone would fall out of character. I would try to remain the same, but soon I was silly as all the rest! So true what you say about keeping good crowds and counsel. I am good in this area now, but when I was younger a few times I did stray. Not too far, but enough to know I wasn't where I should be. Thanks so much for this. :-)

    http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2012/04/lyric-fire-napowrimo-2012-day-11-of-30-poems-in-30-days-a-tumbleweed-rolling-.html

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    1. Hi, Tameka, and thanks for dropping in today!
      I'm so glad this post brought back humorous memories for you. I started out in trying to get a teaching job by being a sub - Boy! Did I ever get MY payback! :)
      And, it's all too true that we are too easily dragged down by those negative influences around us.
      Glad we're both hanging with the positive people!
      Blessings to you!

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  4. Unfortunately, I have been in the situation that I have been judged by others, who claimed to be my very dear friends, when our financial situation changed. I was still the same person that I have always been, only lived in a different house in a different area of town. That is not how we were perceived though. It is sad, for I feel that they have missed out on a genuine friendship. I try not to make judgment based on others actions, what they wear, or where they live. Sometimes, people are just victims of circumstance.

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    1. Mary, that is such a sad testimony, that friends we thought were close and caring would turn their backs when our financial situation, or any situation for that matter, changes. It is their loss, but I know how much it must have hurt you at the time.
      Judging others is a dangerous and often self-destructive practice. No wonder Jesus tells us not to!
      Thanks so much for coming by and leaving your touching comment.
      Blessings to you!

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  5. Hello Martha.
    Like Tameka, the first part of your post brought a wry smile to my face...my lack of discipline is definitely the reason why I left school at 14! We can all change, if we want to and I sought the company of people who guided me in the right direction and whose discipline and teachings helped to frame me into the man I am today.

    I believe it is important to provide for the needs of one's family but to shun the world's avid pursuit of material things, personal fame & excessive indulgence in pleasure. Of course it is vital to apply God's Word in everyday life now, at home, in school (yes, even in school...smile), in business & in spiritual congregations. As much as I love my family and will do anything for them except break the law, I also understand that I have to keep a distance from them, because they indulge in practices condemned by God's Word.
    Thanks Martha.

    jewels Of Darkness

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    1. Oh, wow, Andy, what a tightrope you must have to walk with your family! That would be such a heartbreak for me and I admire you for loving them as Jesus would but knowing how to maintain a healthy distance.
      Left school at 14? So glad there were mentors who took you under their wings and pointed you in the right direction. You are, indeed, a successful man in every way!
      Thanks so much for visiting today and leaving this wonderful comment!
      Blessings to you!

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    2. Hello again Martha.
      Actually, in the beginning, it was tough and I got a lot of slack from my family for my beliefs, but I stood my ground and they've all come to understand now that there are some things I just will not take part in.

      As for leaving school, I have to laugh thinking back to that time. To say my parents were upset is an understatement! If I had to relive that time again, I would definitely finish school, but I wouldn't change anything else, because my experiences in life have made me who I am and I LOVE ME (smile).

      Thank you for your kindness and lovely response.

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    3. Thank you, Andy, for stopping back by!
      It all comes down to having the backbone to stand up for who you are and what you believe in. If we compromise those for the sake of others' approval, we end up looking like a pretzel - all twisted and distorted!
      And, I'll just bet your parents were not happy when you left school - we certainly weren't when my youngest step-son dropped out last year (got is GED in the meantime). But, in the end, no one know you, your needs, and talents like you, yourself, do. And, some of us are simply destined to take that road less traveled. Glad it's brought you to a good place in your life!
      Blessings and thanks!

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  6. I see myself as the rebel of our family, first for less than "proper" behavior, now for the honesty with which I conduct my life. I am looked down on by the General public because I refuse to give up on myself or who society sees as losers. I am have always been a child of the universe doing what I can to survive and to know love. School sucked for me, I didn't fit anywhere in the social part and the studies I found incredibly uninteresting. Doesn't make me bad just different. I loved the way you talk of influences here, if influencing in the "right" direction were only so easy. thank you.

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    1. Jan, it certainly sounds like you have followed the proverbial beat of a different drummer. And, that's all good whether anyone else understands you or not. Even when one is as unique as you are, not fitting in as a child, or even an adult, can truly hurt. We all want to be accepted for who we are, not judged or condemned.
      And, yes, influencing in the right direction is difficult. It takes lots of love and patience and time. It is worth the effort, though.
      Thanks so much for taking time to drop by and for leaving such a touching comment.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  7. Oooo... I've succumb to outward temptations many times! The life I live today is nothing like what it once was... thank God for second chances!

    I am incredibly grateful to have the tools and desire to live life differently, today.

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    1. Yes, Amy, I cheer with you: Thank God for second chances! And, third. And, fourth. And, fifth . . .
      My journey has been a long and arduous one and I am not proud of many things in my past. Yet, I know the Lord has forgiven me for those transgressions and has enabled me to move on in faith and trust in Him.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment here.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  8. Many times I have been judged because of my actions and or the actions of others that I hang with.. It continues to this day... see my friends are not always perfect.. they don't easiy fit into this world.. but they are my friends and good ones at that.. I believe this was who Jesus was with his friends... ...i don't judge why do you...As always...XOXOOXO

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    1. Beautiful, Bonnie - "I don't judge, why do you?"
      We are all imperfect and in need of a loving Lord who understands us in all ways and will work with us to set our feet on right paths for His sake.
      We are, also, all different. It is in loving through the differences, not judging, but truly trying to see someone's heart, where we make connections, not divides. That's often where we find our truest friends.
      Thank you, Bonnie, for stopping by today and taking time to leave a beautiful comment.
      Blessings to you!

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  9. I wish I could remember that far back....am ssssssssooooooo old....!!! Seriously, you have a wonderful gift of connecting life stories with the 'now' and then God's word! :-))

    You should put it all in a devotional book! Mine are too long to do that with!!ha! Bless you!!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Bernie!
      Thanks, too, for your kind words. I would like to compile a book at some point; I will let the Lord lead me in the right direction for that. :)
      Blessings to you!

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  10. I remember in art class when we had a substitute once everyone started acting up, throwing bits of paper everywhere, being unruly. I was usually a pretty respectful student, in fact had no problems except that one day when I joined in.

    I definitely think there's something to that old saying "Birds of a feather flock together". If you hang around people it's just natural to have a transference of traits.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jessica, for stopping by!
      It is a sad truth that we tend to be influenced for the worst instead of the better by those around us. A trend in education which didn't last long was to place a few high-achieving students in classes with those of average abilities hoping their presence would "raise the bar". Guess what? The top students got dragged right down to the lowest common denominator!
      So glad Jesus stood His ground for all of our sakes!
      Blessings to you!

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  11. I don't think it's good to isolate yourself completely. No one is perfect really. Anyone can drag you down in times of weakness. And, great lessons come in surprising packages sometimes.

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    1. Good insight, Rachel!
      We can and do learn much from both positive and negative experiences in our lives. And, it is impossible to be completely isolated from these incidences; we simply have to look to Jesus to learn how to take the high road.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Blessings to you!

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  12. Oh I remember when I was younger and I taught formal catechism in public schools. We were assigned to first graders. I felt hopeless at one point since the children saw that I couldn't discipline them. I was walking out then the teacher asked me to stay since the parents of these kids did not give time to teach them of Christ. I did feel myself stooping to the lowest level, giving in to madness and giving up on them too easily.

    I look up to Jesus and I learned how to be gentle but firm at the same time. Christ is truly inspiring as He makes His point in a manner that allows one to see how much he/she is loved.

    I pray with you. May we lift each other up allowing Christ's goodness to be contagious and love be more evident.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting here, Melissa, as always! :)
      Here I'm thinking all along that madness only occurs in American schools. You've set me straight on that one!
      And, hats off to you for hanging in there with those little ones. I taught middle school where at least the age group can be reasoned with.
      Yes, Jesus certainly shows us how to be firm, yet gentle, too.
      Thank you so much for praying with me. May the Lord's goodness and love shine through us so brightly, others simply have to catch it!
      Blessings to you!

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  13. Its one area that the Lord is working on me..I judge so quickly. Thanks for this. It reminds me to be strong in His love so I don't need to give in to the pressure to be "in" but instead show His love and look at everyone they way He does.

    Thanks also for stopping by my blog. It was a blessing to read yours.

    Best regards,
    Mary

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    1. Hi, Mary, and thanks so much for dropping by today!
      That has been a struggle for me, too, believe me. It is something so important to work on as it is truly freeing for us to look for Christ in everyone.
      I enjoyed your blog, too! :)
      Blessings to you!

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