A great mystery is a puzzle that needs to be solved. People are the greatest of enigmas, aren’t they? Perhaps that’s why so many TV shows in America and Britian revolve around crime stories and murder mysteries: think Agatha Christy, Foyles War, Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds. Why do we love a good murder mystery? We want to know – who done it – don’t we? Personally, I love the challenge of thinking about and pondering each of the suspects motives, weighting them in the balance, and thinking outside the box. Of course, many times I’ve been wrong. So often the guilty person is not the one who you would expect. Ah, a good mystery then equals a good surprise.
However, in real life those kind of surprises can be devastating: when we end up marrying the wrong man or woman, taking on a business partner who is a crook, or befriending a trouble maker. Misjudging a persons character, or not taking the time to judge their character, can result in painful consequences. You know the old saying: “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover”. I once heard a Pastor describe a Christian as a strong tower. Each one of us has a draw bridge; we have to decide who to let in the castle and who to keep out, by opening or closing the bridge. The fact is, it’s very important who you “let in” and who you “keep out”. I’ve heard it said that if you want to know where you will be in 10 years, just take a close look at your friends. Because those you hang around have a great influence over your life. They are either taking you up or bringing you down.
I once knew a fellow in High School who was very popular. He hung around the “in” crowd and was actively involved in football and other school activities; A real jock and handsome. Then one day, I started noticing he had some “new” friends who were “druggies”; I would see them laughing and hanging out in the hall together outside class. Suddenly after a few short months, his hair started getting longer, he looked thinner and always tired with red puffy eyes. Not long after that, his personality seemed to change, and he no longer hung out with the “in” crowd at all. He dropped out of all sports that I knew of and disappeared into the shadows.
A Pastor friend, had a similar story, but his old High School friend ended up in jail for murder. The first thing he said when he went to the prison to visit him was, “I had these friends”.
Your friends are either taking you up or bringing you down. They are either pointing you to God or they are pointing you to the world. In Proverbs 13:20 God instructs us:
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” It may be necessary to take inventory of your relationships and look at these three important points.
Do they love God, and love others?
Are they honest?
Do they speak the truth in love? (Are they telling you what you need to hear & pointing out your “blind spots” in a kind and sincere way?)
The Bible makes it clear we are to avoid people who are angry and bitter least their negative qualities rub off on us. “Bad company ruins good morals,” (1 Corinthians 15:33) So be careful how you choose your friends. A good mystery can be surprising but who wants to be unhappily surprised by a relationship gone bad. Do your detective work before you decide to “let down” the draw bridge.