Good Company

I had an epiphany the other day.  All thanks to social media.

Yeah, you heard that right.

It’s a weird world we live in, where we’re connected with all of our old friends, all of our old acquaintances.  Oh, social media, you’ve enabled me to “keep up” with people who I’ll never actually spend any real time with ever again!  But it’s one of those things, you know.  You have mutual friends, so you stay “friends”… online.
Which means that you have a front row seat when one of your old friends posts a totally bizarre tirade.  Pass the popcorn, y’all, because it gets all kinds of interesting when that happens, right?
Anyway, all that said, someone I once counted as a very close friend posted something the other day that shocked me.  It wasn’t anything horrible or terrible, but it was really insightful, honest, and blunt.  It was his strong opinion on something, touching on what he believes theologically and what his worldview is.
And I didn’t agree with him.
This was a guy who I had agreed with on everything back in the day.  We were, at the time, cut from the same cloth theologically speaking, and I honestly and sincerely looked up to him, viewed his opinion as an authoritative one when it came to Scripture, and admired who he was in Christ.  
And as I thought about this, given what he’d said online, given what that says about who he is now… well, I wondered if we were still friends now like we were back then, if time and distance had not intervened and put us in very different places, would I believe what he believes?
“I’m such a follower,” I told Wes as we were talking about it.  “I know I am.  And while I would like to think that I would believe exactly what I believe theologically speaking apart from any relationship in my life, I know that the majority of what I believe about Scripture is hugely affected by what you believe.” 
Because he’s my pastor, of course.  Because he’s my closest friend.  And because he’s the spiritual head of our family, and from the day I told him I would marry him, I’ve been looking to him as that authority in my life.  That’s good and right, Scriptural even (I know, right?!), but I’m constantly aware of just how much influence he has in how I see everything.  One flesh and all.  I get it, and I love it.  It’s a wonderful thing, being in the same place spiritually with the person you’ve covenanted yourself to, and I’m so thankful for Wes and for where we find ourselves.
All that said, I am who I am because of Jesus alone… but Wes Faulk has played a big part in how I look at some things, you know?

Because that’s the company I’m keeping.  And good company (or bad company) has the power to change you.
I’m a firm believer that if you surround yourself with people who have a negative way of viewing the world, you’re going to begin to view it that way, too.  If the voices you allow to have influence in your life are those who never speak positive thoughts or encouraging words, your own actions will eventually be affected.  Scripture speaks to this so plainly when it tells us that “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”  (Proverbs 13:20) 
The company you keep can ultimately change who you are as a person.  I think we’re pretty hung up on self-identity and who we are, so much so that we don’t think we ever change, that we’re not weak enough to be changed by someone, that we know who we are and all…
But I think we’re wrong.  I think we can be changed, and sometimes, it’s not for the better.
I’m remembering this as I help our girls navigate friendships and relationships the older they get.  And I’m remembering it for myself, as I keep company with people and as I’m a person who can lead others closer or farther away from Christ myself…

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