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Bad Company Corrupts Good Character

Who do you keep company with on a regular basis? The Bible says “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) The King James translation says “evil” company corrupts good “morals.” Bad and evil, character and morals. The meanings are synonymous, aren’t they?

You may be more familiar with Aesop’s quote: “A man is known by the company he keeps.” Makes me wonder if Aesop read the Bible! He may be known by his fables, but this quote is no fable, it’s Biblical.

When Bad Company Corrupts Good Character

When I was a kid, one of my best friends, who lived across the street, was a pretty bad little girl. She once hit a neighbor kid with a plastic baseball bat – right in the face. My mom said, ‘You are not playing with her anymore.’ Mom didn’t want me hanging around with such a vile little girl.

As we grew up, we still hung around with each other. I started hanging out with her “at the corner,” a particular street corner where a bunch of us “hoodlums” met to just hang out.

I started smoking, experimenting with pot, and getting into some harrowing situations that I won’t get into here.

I was raised in a Baptist church, private Christian school, etc. and I’m sure my mother prayed for me – A LOT – especially since I continued to hang around with this girl and her friends.

Fortunately, neither of us got into trouble with the law and by age 16, I was a mom, so my focus was on my baby, not hanging out with the other teens. My “evil” friend followed shortly after and had her first baby at age 17.

We lost touch with each other over the years. I don’t know where she is now, but I pray she eventually settled down somewhere nice.

Bad Company Corrupts Good Habits, Too

If you’re keeping company with the wrong people, you can develop habits that aren’t very good for you. Smoking was a habit that took me 35 years to kick. Following God’s Word was also corrupted by the people I chose to keep company with early in life.

It’s too easy to get caught up in the habits of bad company. Think about the people you associate with on a daily basis. Do they get drunk often? Do drugs? Get in trouble with the law? The list goes on.

And if you choose to keep them as close associates, you may start being known as one of those people. In today’s society, especially with social media, that could cost you dearly. You may start being seen and thought of as a corrupt person and “good” people may not want to be around you.

Companies may not want to hire you. If you start your own business, people may not want what you’re selling because they may believe you can’t be trusted. And if they can’t trust you, why should they trust your business?


How is your reputation affected by the people you keep company with?

The Bible Has More to Say About This

The Book of Proverbs is an amazing Book of the Bible. Here’s a verse that directly correlates with “bad company corrupts good character.”

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron,
so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

You can look at that another way. If you choose good friends, they can help get you back on the right path. Your friends’ good habits and good character can rub off on you.

And if you choose Christian friends, those who walk with the Lord, they can help lead you in the right direction. I can say that I’m a much happier person now that most of my closest friends are those I go to church with.

So while bad company corrupts good character, the opposite is also true. Good company helps clean out your bad habits, if you allow it. And wouldn’t you rather your character be known as ethical and trustworthy, especially in business?

Who are your friends and close associates? It may be wise to take a good, long look at the company you keep.

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