Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.

One of the things I really enjoy is watching the birds at our birdfeeders – cardinals, rosebreasted nuthatches, tufted titmouse, house finches, gold finches, woodpeckers, dark eyed juncos, and more.  A birdfeeder filled with sunflowers draws the most attention from our feathered friends.  The trick for the birds is to get rid of the seed hull and eat the nutricious seed in the middle.

Finches are uniquely adept at this.  They can turn the seed sideways in the beak, crack down on it, and spit out the hulls – all with no hands!

“Look ma, no hands!’

Woodpeckers (downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, flickers, and hairy woodpeckers) frequent our sunflower stash as well, though I don’t know why because they prefer insects.  Unfortunately for them, they do not have the beak and tongue dexterity of their finch cousins.  The woodpecker has to wedge the seed in something, like the cleft of a limb or bark, and then peck at it until they get the seed out.  Frustratingly for them, they often knock the seed to the ground while they are trying to get it out.

I’ve watched them work at this over and over again without success, while a finch has eaten ten or more seeds.  No matter how many times the woodpecker watches it being done, no matter how much time he spends with them around the bird feeder, he’ll never be able to be like a finch.

Which brings me to the point of this article.  For better or worse, you decide, we are not like birds.  We are influenced by the things we watch and the people we hang around.  Whether we are four years old or forty years old, the company we keep rubs off on us.  People who are being challenged about hanging around people who are a negative influence on them will try to deny this truth.  But denial doesn’t make it true.

Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.

  • If your friends have no concrete goals for their lives, then your future will look much like your present for you will have traveled nowhere.
  • If your friends don’t have jobs, are not looking for jobs, are not seeking training or education for getting a job, then your future will not contain a job or career.
  • If your friend’s father children without taking responsibility for the care of those children, then your future will contain either children you are trying to raise on your own, or you will have progeny who, though they don’t know you, will despise you.
  • If your friends have no regard for God and living a life that pleases him, then your future will be empty of purpose and true fulfillment.
  • If your friends believe there is no right or wrong and that everyone should be left alone to do what pleases them, then your future might contain prison bars, or if not, it will be filled more of the chaos that a lawless people produce.
  • If your friends see only bad in the world, then your future will full of distrust, suspicion, depression and anxiety.
  • If your friends are only interested in having fun and entertaining themselves, then your future will contain lots of disappointment.

It was the apostle Paul who wrote, “Bad company corrupts good character.” (I Corinthians 15:33).  We can disagree with that statement, but the truth of the statement will still be standing.

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