1 Corinthians 15;33 – “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”
Life is good at times, and very hard at others. There are always things, experiences, and people that come in into our lives that enrich us, bring us happiness and joy, and at the worst moments test us, push us to our limits, and some even break us. Being broken hurts. But it’s often the bad decisions and mistakes we make that we learn from most. But the consequences of those mistakes and bad decisions don’t ever leave. Sometimes we deal with them for the rest of our lives. Sometimes the pain or the love never fades.
I’ve lost a good friend lately, or at least I thought they were my friend. I’ve also been reunited with some distant friends, and have met some new ones. These encounters are highlighting the meaning of friendship to me as well as showing me how important the people we allow to surround us or come into our lives effect everything, color our vision, pour into our lives or suck the life out of us. We have to be careful, because our own souls are at stake. Bad company corrupts good character. We are who we surround ourselves.
Be careful who you surround yourself. Cut out toxic people, because you can’t help them. People must want to help themselves. You want to really know a person, look at their friends, look how they spend their time, look at their priorities. People lie to themselves. They tell themselves they’re a good person, just trying to help, just trying to make good out of a bad situation, but what do they do? Do they drown their feelings? Do they ignore their responsibilities, lock themselves away and shut themselves off from the positive people in their lives? Look at person’s friends and you’ll see their ambition, their hopes, and their priorities. Look at the trail they leave behind them. Is it a road of destruction, drama, chaos, or love, ambition, etc? Look at their direction they’re headed. Do they have dreams, or are they just existing from one chaotic moment to the next in survival mode? What of their families? What of their character? Do they put aside their own selfish wants to make sure they provide the right kind of influence and atmosphere for those they love?
Humanity needs a purpose, we need a vision, we need something to hope for, else we become lost, our souls wander aimlessly waiting for the next predator to swoop in at opportune moments. Low, selfish people want to tear down everyone around them, to feel something for themselves. Real friends want to build up those they care for, open opportunity, and not be afraid to dig in, dig out, and pull up.
Realizing that someone you loved very much, slap you in the face and choose a path of destruction, cuts deep. Sometimes we need to feel that pain to remove the rose-colored glasses from our eyes and take a good assessment of what is truth. When someone is on a path of self-destruction, nothing you can do will help them because they’re not listening and they don’t want help. The best thing you can do is let them fall, because they HAVE to WANT to help themselves or nothing will ever change. You can help them a million times, and they’ll come back a million more with their hands out. In truth, you’re not helping, you’re enabling. Trying to really help them – they will cut you out, because they don’t want to be helped, and they sure as hell don’t want to hear the truth. They will surround themselves with others on that same path and level of destruction. They can lie to themselves about who they are, their character, their motives and their what path they’re on, but look at who they surround themselves and you’ll see a person’s true path, no matter the lies they tell you or themselves.
On the flip side, those who want to change their stars will surround themselves with people that encourage, that inspire, and that love. You want to be loving, surround yourself with loving people. You want to be happy, surround yourself with happy people. You want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. You want to get healthy, surround yourself with people that have a healthy lifestyle or healthy habits. You want to succeed, surround yourself with others that strive for success. You want to fall in love, surround yourself with others who are in love or also want to fall in love. Don’t ask a broke man for financial advice. Don’t ask a whore for advice on love. Don’t ask an addict about self-control. Don’t ask a liar about respect.
Protect your circle of family and friends. We might not think that bringing a toxic person into our lives and around our families isn’t dangerous, but every action, reaction, response, comment, and non-comment that toxic person makes effects those around them. Those around us are either building or tearing us down.
We are all human, and all have times of doubt, depression, and fights with our demons. But those times are temporary in a good, kind, and loving person. But toxicity from a vampire isn’t temporary, it’s a deep poison that comes out in every pore, and its fragrance is pungent and poisonous to everyone around them. Cutting them out and telling them no, and walking away doesn’t make you a bad person. I have a huge heart and have tried to help anyone I see in need. I’ve sacrificed so much in my life for the people I love, for humanity in general. I’ve brought strangers home to put a roof over their head, fed the hungry for more than 20 years, visited the elderly listening to their stories, visited the imprisoned and helped them envision a brighter future, write resumes, and give hope they have the power to change their stars. I’ve spent the majority of my life doing volunteer work because I have a bleeding heart and I hate, HATE, hate to see the pain and oppression in this dying world. I have walked in picket lines, in demonstrations for equality for women and minorities, I have prayed with the dying, I have worked with animals that have been abused, and I have stood outside the back door of an abortion clinic to offer open arms instead of judgement and condemnation. I’ve went without food to make sure someone else ate. I’ve spent time with wounded soldiers, written letters, and held them tight. I have helped build water wells and schools for children in third-world oppressed countries. I’ve supported programs that help rescue young women from human trafficking. I am a survivor of every kind of abuse you can imagine and have seen the true ugliness of humanity, yet I still hope, I still believe, I still fight like hell to protect those I love, protect those who can’t protect themselves. I love children so much, and am a natural mother to all kids. You should see my gaming clan – it’s filled with kids from 6 to 12, 14, 15, 19, 21 year-olds. I mother them all. Yet, I’ve endured one of my own children run away, another battle with drugs, and another disappear into obscurity. I’m divorced. I’ve lost someone I loved to war. I was abandoned by my family and rejected by another. Yet, I still believe in love, in family, in friends.
That is the woman I choose to be. Yes, I’ve been successful in many areas of my life. I’ve got an MBA, I’m a published author that’s been nominated for many awards, I’ve owned my own successful business, I’ve ministered in front of thousands, many of my friends include celebrities and people in the top of their field, I’ve cooked some spectacular gourmet meals. My resume is amazing. I’ve done some AMAZING things, I’ve jumped out of an airplane, zipped down the tallest tree-top zip line in the world, rode the white rapids, climbed a mountain, and hiked some amazing trails. Yet, for a while I’ve forgotten about this woman. I allowed toxicity into my life. Not anymore. I’ve learned to say no. It is not cruel to wear garlic and ward off the vampires. It’s an act of compassion. I have fallen on my face more times that I can count, yet I get back up. I’ve recently found myself once more with my soul crushed on the ground, but I’m getting back up. I’m surrounding myself with people who encourage me, support me, and are a positive influence in my life.
It’s not my job to save the world. Someone else already did that. It’s time for the world to save itself. If we climb out of our holes of disparity, by our own determination, grabbing hold of the arms willing to reach out to help, we now have an arm to offer someone else what WANTS to climb out. But how can we offer help to someone that’s in the same hole? The only way out is to climb on their shoulders or else have them climb out on ours, and that might not even be enough. You want to get out of your own darkness, then call on true friends already above ground, surround yourself with others that want to see you succeed, that inspire you, that encourage you, that focus on the positive and quit the blaming the world and everyone else for their situation. I’m drawing people into my life that don’t push me away or shut me out, but let me be the cheerleader that I am, that lets me encourage them, help them, and inspire them, because doing these things for others helps me be me, helps me remember the woman I am, strengthens me by their love, their support and their encouragement. They’re not sucking the life out of me, but pouring life into me. These are my true friends.
Till next time,
Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Proverbs 13:20 – “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9 -10 – “Two people are better than one because together they have a good reward for their hard work. When one falls, the other can help his friend get up. But how tragic it is for the one who is all alone when he falls. There is no one to help him get up.”
Proverbs 18:24 – “One who has unreliable friends soon comes ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 27:6 – “You can trust what your friend says, even when it hurts. But your enemies want to hurt you, even when they act nice.”
Proverbs 16:29 – “A violent person entices their neighbors and leads them down a path that is not good.”
Proverbs 22:24-25 – “Do not be a friend of one who has a bad temper (or bad character), and never keep company with a hothead, or you will learn his ways and set a trap for yourself.”
John 15:13 – “No one has a greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friend.”