“Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” Proverbs 23:6-9
If you have been following my articles recently, perhaps you’ll remember I have been taking our thoughts from the book of Proverbs and chapter 23. We pick up our study this week in verse six.
At first the wording of this passage may seem a little confusing but look carefully at what it is saying. Key phrases are “him that hath an evil eye” and “as he thinking in his heart, so is he.” Someone whose focus is on evil and is mischievous at heart, is someone you don’t want to get close with.
Although we all can be taken in by someone who is a bad influence or be drawn into an unhealthy relationship, this is especially true of young people. For many there is a strange draw to the bad kid, the one who is a little wild. There is something about the naughty, care-free person that attracts others.
Nevertheless, over time they prove they are not a good friend. Whatever their “dainty meats” or their flattering words, you will come to “vomit” and regret your association with them.
Proverbs is a book of wise statements and here we are warned about being allured into a relationship with a bad character. Those who reject this wisdom will suffer for it.
Perhaps you say, “I can turn them from their wrong and influence them for the good instead.” Perhaps you can, and some you may, but there are those who will “despise the wisdom of thy words” and are unwilling to reform. Every effort should be made to correct the erring one from their error, but the sad reality is there are some who will reject all of our calls to repent and we need the wisdom to know how and when to get out of harmful relationships that only drag us in a wrong direction.
On the other hand, there are good friendships. Seek those who will lift you up and help you be a better person. Cultivate such friendships and cherish those who are encouragers for the good. We need relationships with others. They make life meaningful and blessed if they are with others who are good, helpful and challenge you in a positive direction. Relationships with others are powerful things. Build the right ones, avoid the wrong ones, and you won’t regret it later.
Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church.
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