Look around and notice who you spend most of your time with. Generally, you will find four categories:
- Individuals who are generally wise and serve as a positive influence.
- Individuals who are total idiots and serve as a negative influence.
- Individuals who are borderline on the wisdom and idiocy, but more wisdom.
- Individuals who are borderline on the idiocy and wisdom, but more idiocy.
Clearly, over time, you begin to get a pretty good read on the people you spend the most time with, the people you are closest to. And, there’s a plethora of reasons why you spend time with them – though some of them cross the line from a reason to an excuse.
Walk with the wise and become wise;
associate with fools and get in trouble.
– Proverbs 13:20
Proverbs 13:20 is succinct but powerful in its message. You want to fly with eagles? Don’t hang out with the crows. You want to hunt with the predators? Don’t mix with the prey. The people you associate with will make or break you. They will also define you by association.
If you have to pick and choose, try 1, 3, 4, 2 from the order above from best scenario to worst. Realize which one is your current situation and change it if you need to. Seek counsel and company from the wise – or at least the best your circle has to offer. If there is not much wisdom to be had in that circle, find another that builds you. Soon, a one- dimensional circle will become a three-dimensional sphere.
You can never underestimate the power of those who influence you through proximity and reach. If iron sharpens iron, don’t be a butter knife. Sharpen others as they sharpen you. Just like the title said: you decide if you are wise or foolish by the company you keep.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
– Proverbs 27:17