Many Christians justify their interaction with ungodly friends as being a form of outreach. They say, “Jesus hung out with all sorts of bad people.” But is that a true statement? Do we find Jesus seeking the “wrong” crowd for social interaction?
Mat 9:10 “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
There is a common misconception about Christ’s relationship with beggars, prostitutes, crooks and thieves. When you look at Christ’s example, we find him hanging out with his disciples! Yes, ungodly people came to him, but notice, when they came, they came with a repentant heart.
Luk 7:37 “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. ”
Jesus did not seek those who were unwilling to repent to join his entourage. He surround himself with those who strived to be godly.
We are told in Rom 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” How are we Christ-like when we spend most of our social interaction with those of the world? In 1Co 15:33 we read “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The Bible teaches that evil associations corrupt good morals. You are more likely to conform to the image of those around you than to maintain the image of Christ if you are unequally yoked with unbelievers. In 2Co 6:14 we read “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Can you have ungodly friends? Maybe, but you really need to decide why you have that friendship. Is it to lead them to the Lord? Is it so you can blend in? Is it because you like their lifestyle and want to experience a taste of worldliness without all of its side effects? If you think you can work off the sin calories on Sunday, you are mistaken.
Rom 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. “
I learned a principle many years ago that has always stuck with me: “you are who you hang with.” So why put your soul in danger? Maintain and build healthy friendships with those in the Lord.