Friends and family are some of life’s greatest blessings. We enjoy a special bond with them, and share good times and bad times together. However, these relationships also present unique challenges.
From a spiritual standpoint, Satan utilizes every means possible to gain an advantage. It should be no surprise that one of the avenues used to interfere with our spiritual wellbeing would be through the influence of those who are closest to us. No one is perfect, and even though we may respect and care about others very much, they can make mistakes, give misguided advice, or approve of ideas that may not be accurate or acceptable to God.
One of the most important qualities a person can develop is the capacity to do what is right even though everyone else isn’t. Jesus taught, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27).
The Bible contains several passages challenging us to be careful when those who are close to us exert pressure to pull us away from God’s plan for our lives:
- Exodus 23:2 – Don’t follow the crowd, especially when it is chasing evil.
- Deuteronomy 13:6-8 – Don’t follow others when they worship other gods.
- Psalm 1:1 – Be careful about hanging around with those who have evil attitudes and ideas.
- Proverbs 1:10-15 – Don’t listen when others try to persuade you to engage in inappropriate behavior.
- John 18:15-27 – Trying to blend in with those are do not share your faith in Christ can tempt you to deny your faith.
- I Corinthians 15:33 – Listening to those who doubt God and His message can weaken our faith.
- Galatians 2:9-13 – No matter how conscientious we may usually be, we can be affected by the ideas of our friends and associates.
- Galatians 6:1 – When we are attempting to help a friend with a spiritual problem, we should remember that we are also susceptible to the influence of sin.
- Matthew 7:13-14 – When making decisions about which path to take in life, our choices should be determined by considering where the path will lead, and not with the direction that others may be going.