Tommy came from a wonderful Christian family. He accepted Jesus Christ at a very young age and was in church with his family every Sunday. His parents loved him tremendously, they nurtured him, they did all they could to instill godly values and genuine Christian faith. Tommy excelled in his schooling, he excelled in track, and he was kind and respectful to his parents and his siblings.
Shortly after Tommy’s 16th birthday, a new family began attending their church. They had a son named Billy who joined the youth group. Billy was a cool kid. He had a charisma about him that made people just like him. Tommy and Billy began to hang out as often as possible. Tommy noticed that Billy took risks and did things Tommy would never do, but Tommy and Billy had become best friends, and well, he didn’t want to lose Billy’s friendship. Besides, Billy had a car, and Tommy didn’t. Billy would pick Tommy up and take him places. Tommy was very grateful and enjoyed cruising. Their friendship deepened and one night Billy introduced Tommy to alcohol. Tommy knew it was wrong, but Billy was his best friend, and Billy seemed to enjoy it so much, and Tommy just didn’t want to offend his friend and say no. Tommy decided, “Hey, I will just have one beer.” Soon, it was what they did every Friday night. Tommy began to lie to his parents about where he was. He was getting good at living a double life.
Eventually, over the course of the next couple of years, Tommy became an alcoholic. He could no longer hide it from his parents. They were beside themselves and did not understand how any of this had happened. They tried everything they could think of, but Tommy eventually left home, living a party lifestyle and to this day, has destroyed his life.
Tim was a wonderful father, he and his wife were devoted missionaries in a South American country. They had 3 precious kids. Across the street from them lived a single mom and her two daughters. Tim and his wife were committed to the great commission and wanted to reach out to the people around them. When the unsaved, single mom across the street invited their 8-year-old daughter over to play, they jumped at the chance. The single mom’s teenage daughter would be there watching the two 8 years old are playing together.
While the two 8 years old’s were playing together, the teenager girl watching them came into the room with her smartphone. She was going to intentionally shock the two young girls by showing them a despicable porn video that was part of an evil game older kids played on younger kids in that country.
Tim’s younger daughter was deeply affected by what she saw. She came home went to her room and began to sob. She was beside herself by what she saw. It took several days for her to even be able to tell Tim what had happened. He was heartbroken and stunned by the impact this continued to have on his little girl.
Sam was a devoted Christian father. He loved his family passionately and was a great example to them. He loved Christ, read his Bible faithfully, and set a great example for his kids. He gave them healthy boundaries. His oldest son, a teenager, bought a brand new iPhone and little by little he became distant from the family. He would leave the dinner table as soon as he could and go upstairs to his room to be alone. Soon the phone began to dominate his life. His father was very concerned. He asked his son to meet with me. I met his son, Brock, as his son looked up to me. I soon discovered that Brock was sending and receiving approx. 9000 texts per month. Many from girls. Brock was actually spending, on many nites, up to 3-5 hours in his room alone, texting multiple people, many of the girls. The reality was this: he had simply found the teenager’s new modern way to spend time with bad friends without ever leaving his room!!! THE SMARTPHONE, TEXTING, AND VIDEO CHATTING! Moms and dads today are simply believing their son or daughter is safely in their homes, in their rooms, safe from harm. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The stories I have relayed are factually true, though all names are changed to protect these precious people. I could tell you hundreds of stories like this. They break your heart and tear me up inside, every time I think of them.
Fathers, never, ever, ever forget this truth!!
BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD MORALS! THE COMPANION OF FOOLS SUFFERS HARM!
Nothing is quite as dangerous to your child’s well being, and spiritual and emotional growth, as bad friends. Over the last 43 years, I have been stunned how naive so many Christian parents have been. I have seen kids from wonderful, godly homes become drug addicts, some go to jail, others turn from God completely, all because of the corrupting influence of bad friends. I have witnessed dear young ladies from Christian homes end up pregnant out of wedlock and alone, all because of a bad friend.
Many of these parents did not see any of this coming because they simply took no interest in the people their kids were hanging around. Other parents were operating under the illusion that because their kid’s friends came from the church youth group, that nothing bad could happen. I mean, these are good kids in the youth group. My experience has taught me that some of the worst influences on your kids can be the nominal, lukewarm, compromising “Christian” kids, in the youth group, or the kids who seem so nice but are living a lie.
Other parents simply didn’t want to interfere, or seem like the bad guy, for letting their son or daughter know that that friend of yours is bad and you may not hang out with them anymore.
DADS HEAR ME NOW, I was a fanatic about who my kids hung out with, and who was influencing them. In fact, my first priority was to make sure their mom and I were their greatest influence and best friends and that we were best friends with each other. I refused to allow any other human to come between our friendship with each other as a family when my kids were still living at home.
Here is an example. One night after church, my older two teenagers went to a gathering at the home of someone we knew from church. They were very hospitable people. They were having a bunch of kids over from the youth group. The next day, my kids were relaying to me what took place there. Downstairs unsupervised was playing the vilest rap music with really despicable lyrics. There was some very unchristian behavior going on as well. They chose to stay upstairs, but most of the kids were downstairs. When I found out what they described to me, which I will not graphically recount here, I was livid! I made it crystal clear, they will never, ever hang out with those folks in that home ever again. I think I shocked them but in a good way!!
I tell you this, you mess with my kids, you try to negatively influence my kids, and you will unleash the fury of God inside of me. I will not stand by and have all my investment in their lives, and their precious spirit, undermined, sabotaged, corrupted and destroyed by bad friends, whether they are a quote “Christian”, or heathen.
I could care less if someone is offended. I would not allow my kids to hang around fools.
Some of you are musing to yourself right now, “How could Mark do that? How could Mark intervene like that with his kids, and make those rules?”
BECAUSE MY KIDS RESPECTED ME! MY KIDS LOOKED UP TO ME! I HAD A DEEP, LOVING RELATIONSHIP WITH MY KIDS, I HAD THEIR HEART, I HAD THEIR TRUST, AND THEY LISTENED TO ME.
This is why I wrote last weeks article, this is why I have challenged you to be a winsome, salty dad. This is why I have warned you, you cannot be a hypocrite, or emotionally distant, or emotionally stupid and raise your kids for Jesus Christ.
Truth is, everything I have written so far, each week, is a matter of life and death as far as I am concerned. Spiritual life and death, emotional life and death, relational life and death, and in some cases, literally life and death.
Many years ago, I wrote this to help my kids and others to be able to discern and distinguish between the types of people they chose as friends. These are all found in the book of Proverbs. I simply categorized and arranged them in a user-friendly format.
Please use this and if age appropriate, review these and talk them over with your kids. Explain what they mean. Share real-life stories you have witnessed of bad friends. Those stories can leave a deep impression and were one of my great tools for fathering and shaping my kid’s lives and values.
1. Does not like advice
2. Says bad things about others
3. Enjoys doing wrong – likes to rebel – does it for fun
4. Does not listen well
5. Is a “know-it-all”
6. Does stupid things and then brags about his/her foolishness
7. Says stupid and foolish things often
8. Despises his/her parent’s discipline
9. Feeds his/her mind on garbage (Look at what he/she listens to, watches, and reads)
10. Even in pain he/she will not repent or change his/her ways
11. Has no real desire to learn and grow
12. Causes people around them grief and pain
13. Doesn’t want to understand; he/she simply wants you to listen to his/her opinion
14. Likes to argue
16. Is unreliable and unfaithful
17. Keeps returning to his/her foolishness
18. Is proud (You can often tell by how they walk – cocky)
19. Won’t admit when he/she is wrong – but will ridicule or blame others
20. Has little self-control
21. His/her mouth is often getting him/her into trouble
22. Is lazy and undisciplined
23. Scoffs at God and at authority
A wise person…
1. Listens to advice
2. Is a hard worker
3. Will receive a rebuke
4. Takes advice and will accept criticism
5. Knows how to hold his/her tongue
6. Has speech/a mouth that builds, encourages, and blesses those around him/her
7. Respects God and obeys Him
8. Has meaningful and helpful things to say
9. Brings joy to his/her parents’ hearts
10. Is headed in a positive direction
11. Tries to make peace
12. Is always ready to learn more
13. Is teachable, moldable, coachable (Must be willing to take this from parents as well as from coaches, teachers, and other authorities)
14. Works to calm him/herself down
15. Loves righteousness and wants to do the right thing, and courageously stands up for the truth no matter what it costs!
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Prov. 13:20
Please hear this series