Summary: The Bible repeatedly warns us to be very careful about the kind of friends we choose. But does that mean we should never make friends of non-Christians?
OPEN: Some time back in Germany a couple of women were driving down the autobahn when they realized they were low on gas. So they pulled over to a gas station and the driver filled her car up with gas. But then she discovered that she did not have enough money to pay the bill. So she asked her friend to stay behind as a human deposit while she went to withdraw some extra cash.
A police spokesman in the German town of Muenchberg said, “Unfortunately, the woman did not return.”
Two hours after the 20-year-old driver left, the gas station called the police who then questioned the stranded "deposit" before releasing her. At last report, the Police were investigating the driver on suspicion of fraud.
Now a question: how many of you would like to have a friend like that, that would leave you at the gas station? Me neither.
You could say that this so-called friend harmed the person she left behind. This woman she left behind suffered the loss of time, the embarrassment of having to talk to the police, and the humiliation of knowing that her friend had abandoned her.
Proverbs tells us there are friends like that.
There are people who will hurt us.
Proverbs 13:20 tells us “… a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Now, why did that girl stay behind as a “human deposit” at the gas station?
Why allow herself to be stranded like that?
Well, she trusted her friend. She didn't expect to be left there. She expected that her friend would return and take her where she wanted to go.
The Bible repeatedly tells us we need to be careful what friends we choose because some friends won’t take us where we want to go. And we may end up being stranded someplace we don’t want to be.
Having the wrong friends can be a painful experience.
In Numbers 33:55 God tells Israel that “…if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land (if the Israelites allowed them to stick around and become their friends), those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.”
In other words Israel needed to avoid “hanging out with” these people.
The very presence of these “former inhabitants” of the land… could “hurt” Israel
And the Bible tells us the same thing:
Who we hang out with can cause us great pain.
They can harm us, they can hurt our families… our future… our dreams.
As Proverbs 13:20 says “… a companion of fools suffers harm.”
ILLUS: A Biblical case in point tells the story of a man named Lot – the nephew of Abraham. At one point in his life, the Bible tells us that:
“Lot … saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar (and)… Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents NEAR Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.” (Genesis 13:10-13)
Where had Lot “pitched” his tents? Near Sodom.
Was Sodom a good place to live? No, it was a wicked city filled with sin.
So, why did Lot want to live there?
Because it was a beautiful neighborhood. All the bushes were trimmed and the houses were nicely painted, the gardens were beautiful. It seemed like a nice place to raise a family.
Sometime later we’re told that Lot “… was living IN Sodom. (Genesis 14:12)
So, first he pitched his tents NEAR Sodom… and now he’s moved into town.
Then we’re told in a few chapters later that when angels from God came to warn Lot to flee the city to avoid the coming judgment: “… Lot was SITTING IN THE GATEWAY of the city.” Genesis 19:1
Who would ordinarily sit in the gateways of cities?
The Elders of the city. Men of prominence in the community.
These were men who called upon by others in the city to settle disputes. It was kind of the courthouse of the area.
So, first Lot pitches his tents NEAR Sodom. Then he moves INTO the city.
Now, he’s a prominent leader in Sodom.
A leader in a sin-filled and wicked city.
2 Peter 2:7 tells us that Lot was “… a righteous man…”
But he’d been drawn into a wicked city and after a while the immorality and unrighteousness of his companions began to warp his righteousness and damage his family.
Genesis 19 tells us that when the men of the town realized Lot had male guests at his home (the angels) they surrounded his house and demanded Lot allow them to have homosexual relations with them. But Lot tries to protect his guests… so what do you think he does next?