Every day you turn on the news you are going to hear virtually never ending coverage of who President-elect Donald Trump is going to choose for his cabinet. Clearly, the choices he makes will have serious implications for his presidency as the cabinet defines the inner circle of political rule in the United States. These officials have considerable influence and presumably will advise our soon-to-be President on a variety of issues that he will have to make decisions on.
It then is very important for him to make wise decisions. The company you keep will influence the decisions you make.
This isn’t just true for Donald Trump. This is true for you and me as well.
If you were to move to Vermont, I highly doubt that you would use the word “wicked” in the same way that we do. If something is “wicked awesome,” it is really awesome. “Wicked” essentially becomes a synonym for “really” or “very.” However, you wouldn’t know that if you weren’t from the Northeast most likely. It is not part of the vernacular in other parts of the country as far as I understand.
Once you moved to Vermont and had spent some time here, you would understand that Vermonters use “wicked” in this fashion. Even though you had never used it in that way before, you might start to see it slip into your vocabulary because the culture around you uses it so often.
It is the same way with our friends and more serious aspects of our behavior. The company we keep and the advice we take make a difference in the actions that we take. For instance, take a look at this study from the University of Washington in 2005. Children whose parents smoked are twice as likely to begin smoking between the ages of 13 and 21 than children born to parents that did not smoke.
As developing young adults, even though many of them will actively deny it, parents are still highly influential in their children’s lives. If a certain behavior such as smoking is normalized and practiced in the home, it really shouldn’t be surprising that the children are more likely to smoke as well.
That’s what I want to talk about this week. I want to reflect a little bit more on how Christians are called to interact with the world around us. As you can tell from everything I have written so far, I don’t think that we are called to hide in sheltered communities in the middle of the woods. I think that Christians are called to engage with our culture, and that means we’re going to begin developing relationships with people who believe different things than we do.
Again, like many things in the Christian life, there is a very important balance that we need to find. On one hand, we are called to influence the world around us and engage with people of all walks of life. That means keeping company with people who believe differently than we do. On the other hand, we are also reminded that our company can influence our own actions and therefore ought to be cautious. Through some biblical illustrations, we can see how this might work out in our everyday lives.