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Summary: Your friends will influence and possibly determine the direction and the quality of your life.

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careless with their finances, they will be equally careless with your finances. If you have friends

that could care less about their physical health, they are not going to be on the lookout for your

physical health. If they’re not taking care of themselves, they’re not going to take care of your

self. Which means, whether you ever think like them or not, whether you ever behave like them

or not, you are in a dangerous, dangerous place, because the companion of the people who could

care less eventually suffers the consequences of the behavior of the people who could care less,

whether you dip into their behavior or lifestyle or not.

Now as I’m talking, for some of you, faces are coming to mind and you’re thinking, how

did he know? I didn’t know. Solomon knew, thousands and thousands of years ago he knew.

This is a principle. This is not a decision. This is not something that you violate. This is

something that you ignore and ultimately pay for, or you leverage to your benefit and

consequently you’re rewarded for it. So in light of all that, in light of the fact that none of us are

really exceptions to this rule, I want to suggest some guardrails. Now, I made these up. None of

these are in the Bible. If you say, Well, that’s just his opinion, you are correct. This is just my

opinion. But it is my very informed opinion, okay? It is my opinion after listening to the most heartbreaking stories you could imagine—by watching my own life, by watching the parents of

some of my children, by talking to strangers, by talking to people I’ve known for years and years

and years, crying with people, weeping with people I draw these five suggestions from the fact

that if most of the people I had talked to had had one or more of these five guardrails, they

would’ve avoided some of the greatest heartbreaking experiences of their lives, and I want that

for you.

Now, as I’m giving these to you, some of you are going to push back in this way. You’re

going to say, Andy, that doesn’t sound very compassionate. That doesn’t sound very loving. That

doesn’t even sound very Christian. What would Jesus do? Do you think Jesus would have

guardrails? So I want you to take all of that concern and I want you to set it aside for five

minutes and then I’m going to come back to that. I just want you to know ahead of time, I

understand that concern. I don’t want anything to get in the way of you processing these

suggestions. I don’t expect that you adopt all five of these. I think it’d be a great idea if you did.

These are some of the things that Sandra and I do and we encourage our kids to do, but I just

want you to listen, because my goal for you is not that you do these five things. My goal for you

is that you recognize the danger and the pitfalls of friendship, and that you establish some

guardrails that keep you safely back from some oncoming traffic, because in our world that’s just

unavoidable reality.

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