“Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
One of the most powerful scriptures I’ve ever encountered is Proverbs 13:20. I was first confronted by its profound power in a well-timed message delivered by Andy Stanley (to give credit where it is due, of course), in which he went into much greater detail than I will here. But I will say that I haven’t been the same since that day.
Of course, when most of us read this passage, we see it as an admonition not to be a companion of fools, lest we suffer harm. But there is another way to look at it. If we instead consider our own actions and decisions with discernment regarding whether they are wise or foolish, we can see how those actions and decisions might affect our loved ones—our companions.
You see, the thing about fools is that they often lack a keen sense of self-preservation. That means that they will disregard the potential negative consequences that they may face as a result of their behavior. I remember Andy Stanley saying that many times, fools will not change until they have suffered the full extent of the consequences of their sin. And worse yet, many of them wear that fact like a badge of honor or simply laugh it off: “Yeah, I guess I’ll change once I’ve hit rock bottom and lost everything.”
But wait. The verse above doesn’t say that a FOOL suffers harm. It says that a COMPANION of fools suffers harm. So who are those companions? Our spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers—even our pets—can all be our companions. And even fools will usually claim to love at least some of these. So all of a sudden, when the consequences of our decisions affect not only us, but our loved ones as well, maybe that offers a deeper motivation to choose the right path, the godly way.
I know that, for myself, when I’m tempted to do something foolish, and I first imagine the full extent of the consequences of that choice—the fallout that could await those I care about—it gives me immense power to resist that temptation and to turn away from sin. I hope all who read this will find that same power from this awesome proverb.
Many blessings to you all.