With graduation ceremonies taking place or about to take place all around us, I was reminded of a story I once read. It is about a university student who was assigned to spend a year on a reservation with Navajo Indians as a part of his requirements for a doctorate degree.
This reservation was located in the Southwest and he actually lived with one of the families. He worked along with them, ate what they ate and even slept in their hut. Of all the experiences he had there over a year’s time, the greatest was a close friendship he established with the grandmother.
She spoke no English making communication between them difficult at first. But as time went by, she acquired some English and he learned some Navajo and their bond grew strong while spending a great deal of time together.
When the year ended, it was a sad time for everyone. The whole village had befriended him and he had developed a great relationship with them. They threw a beautiful “going-away” party and everyone came to tell him good-bye. When it was the grandmother’s turn, she had tears streaming down her cheeks. She took his face in her hands, looked into his eyes and said, “I like me best when I’m with you.”
I love her statement! There are some people who seem to bring out the best in us- - and, unfortunately, some who seem to bring out the worst. Of the latter, I think of Ahab and the evil he committed which was fueled by the bad influence of his wife, Jezebel (cf. 1 Kings 21:25). On the other hand, there are the good people like Joses, who was nicknamed “Barnabas” by the apostles, because he was always a great source of encouragement to those around him (cf. Acts 4:36).
All of us long to have a happy and successful life and one big factor that will determine that is choosing the right kind of friends. The Bible has a lot to say about this matter and I offer three powerful verses here: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26); “He who walks with the wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20); and “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Hence, if you have good, positive friends, hold on for dear life; if you don’t, it is time to choose some new ones!