Recently I’ve been giving a lecture about how we will become like the people we hang out with. It’s true. In five years, you’ll become a conglomerate of the people you spend the most time with. In fact, if I wanted to know who you were going to be five years from now, I’d not ask what you do, what education you have, what you eat or whether you exercise, though all those things have an impact. Instead, I’d want to spend a little time with the folks you spend time with. That alone would tell me who you were going to become.
We are intensely relational beings. We become like each other. It’s just a fact.
For this reason, I recommend analyzing all our relationships. Literally put them all on a map and ask ourselves whether we want to become like these people or not. If we don’t, I strongly believe that, if possible, we should consider letting some relationships go.
It’s scandalous, I know. But I recommend it all the same.
Occasionally, if I’m speaking to a group of Christians I’ll have somebody ask whether Jesus would ever walk away from somebody. My answer is that He not only would, He did.
In the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus asked him to follow Him, to join Him, to develop a relationship on His terms. The rich young ruler declined, as we know, and Jesus stood and grieved because He loved the young man. And then Jesus walked away. Jesus didn’t go live with the man, giving up His important mission to settle down and play video games and swim in the guy’s pool. Jesus walked away.
Sometimes we take the idea that Jesus goes after the lost sheep to mean we should become like the unhealthy people around us. But this of course is foolish. We should have a direction in life, we should become people who are more and more sanctified, and we should be inviting others to join us. And if they won’t come, we grieve. But we move on all the same. Some relationships simply aren’t good for us. You aren’t rejecting them, they’re choosing not to come with you.
This simple paradigm shift helped me a great deal.