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Devotion: Evil Influences—and how I respond : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Devotion: Evil Influences—and how I respond

Read: Ephesians 5:1-10

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. –1 Corinthians 15:33-34 (KJV)

When our son was in elementary school, he made friends with a boy a couple of years older than he was from the neighborhood. The young man had a few problems that I knew about, partially due to his living situation, but I trusted my son’s strength of character. Even so, we did our best to monitor the friendship.

At first, I witnessed that Chris had a positive influence over the neighbor boy when they were at our house. Then, before I realized it, the neighbor boy influenced our son into potentially serious trouble.

We lived across the street from what had been a farm. Though the land was now part of the town, the house was still surrounded by a few acres of land, some of which was used for horses. The boys started riding the horses after school.

That concerned me. I talked to our son more than once about making sure, each time, to personally ask permission. Our son said permission was asked–and given each time. We didn’t realize until later, our son fudged on the truth.

When the cops got involved, it turned out that our son had not asked permission. He relied on the word of his friend, who assured him he’d asked permission. He lied, and our son all but lied to us. Once the owner discovered what the boys were doing, he spoke to our son. He pressed no charges once assured the horses would no longer be ridden.

By his actions, our son lost the trust of the neighbor and ours as well. It was a hard lesson for all of us. He had been influenced to do wrong. I believed he could handle whatever came up and would be a positive influence, even though he was young in age and in faith. I was wrong to make that assumption.

We told our son he was no longer allowed to spend so much time with his older friend. He was more than willing to do that. He didn’t like that his friend lied to him and got them both in trouble.

Even at our age, how many times are we influenced by family, friends, books, magazines and other media—social or otherwise? We may like to believe we are too strong to go down the wrong path, but all it takes is one small bad choice at a time.

Think of the times we’ve listened to explicit lyrics, watched a movie filled with sex and/or violence, read a book that didn’t even pretend to follow God’s values for purity in relationships.

The media often portrays adultery, violence, lying, stealing, divorce, drugs and alcohol consumption in an almost positive light. We live in a culture that makes fun of God’s holy standards for purity, innocence and marriage, promoting instead those things that make for suffering, and long-term pain with broken trust, broken homes and broken children and adults.

While our son was no longer able to spend much time with the older friend, we made sure to pray for his friend.

We each need to take stock of what, or who, is negatively influencing us, and take steps to commit to limiting those influences. That may mean not reading, watching or listening to certain things. It may mean not going certain places. It may even mean limiting some relationships.

We do this by drawing near to the only one who can protect us and guide us toward those things that lift up, not tear down, and that fill our hearts and minds with joy.

Lord, help me read and study Your Word, that it will fill my heart and help me turn away from those things that lead me away from You. Help me wisely chose friends, and take care in what I listen to, play, watch and read. Amen.

Monday: 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
Wednesday: II Corinthians 6:16-18
Thursday: Exodus 20:1-17
Friday: II Corinthians 5:10-21
Saturday: Revelations 18:1-20

By Carolyn R Scheidies
From Listen! Who Me?

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