Question:

Oh Minister,

I've read your answers to so many questions, and they have helped me greatly. I am a college student who has been going through problems of finding meaning in an increasingly secular society where it seems that drinking, doing drugs and "getting laid" is what gets people to like you. I know that I ought to stick with people who are like-minded, but I enjoy having a diversity of friends. I want to connect with all kinds of people because it gives me new perspectives, and also I may want to go into public service one day and this is a key aspect of unifying people - getting to know them.

I wanted to hear your perspective on how to balance connecting with others in a fun and meaningful way in our modern culture, while also living a proper life.

Thank you so much.


Answer:

What you propose sounds nice and idealistic, but it isn't realistic. It assumes that most people are roughly equivalent and all equally worth knowing. The Bible tells us differently:

"Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence" (Proverbs 4:14-17).

There are people whose "food and drink" are evil. These are people who think it is fun to get other people into evil. Why? Often it is as simple as: Because they can. "Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand" (Micah 2:1).

Sometimes the evil is overt. Sometimes it is subtly attractive.

"For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life - her ways are unstable; you do not know them. Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one; lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner; and you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed, and say: "How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation"" (Proverbs 5:3-14).

How do you keep perspective and balance? By always keeping in mind what the long term results are and not getting distracted by the short term pleasures.

I find myself frequently trying to turn drug addicts around. It is deep, dark pit that seems near impossible to pull people out of. You don't want to go there because you won't have a life. Promiscuous sex is not much better. It too destroys lives and sensibilities. At least it is a little easier to get people involved in fornication to see reason.

Do get to understand people, but not everyone should be categorized as a friend. You need to understand that some people are just plain bad, some are destructive, and many are careless. "Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals"" (I Corinthians 15:33). Take extra time to note the start. It is all too easy to think that you won't be affected by other people -- it is so easy to lie to yourself.

Thank you, minister.

I will not associate with those who practice destructive behavior because I know that who you surround yourself with tells much about you and your future. I will, however, continue to improve my speaking skills so that I can at least be able to talk to all kinds of people with confidence.