Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 11, 1968
NUMBER 10, PAGE 12b-13

"I Got In With The Wrong Crowd

Mack Wayne Craig

There is perhaps no explanation more often given for our failure to live as God wants us to live than the excuse, "I got in with the wrong crowd."

Sometimes the words are only an effort to explain away our personal responsibility for our sins, and sometimes they express the situation accurately. But whichever it is, they suggest the truth that some crowds are bad, and that we can be mistaken in our choice of friends.

It is exceedingly important for us to remember that we determine the friends we have. No one forces you to associate with this or that person, and the group that draws together in special friendship does so because they enjoy being together.

There has to be a reason for your choice of one person over another, and perhaps no better reason could be expressed than in the old saying, "birds of a feather flock together." What you are, therefore, is the main factor in determining the kind of friends you have, and if the crowd is wrong, it is also true that you must have already been wrong to become involved with such people.

But it may be that you did begin a friendship with a group whom you did not know well and that you did not realize that they would prove to be the "wrong crowd." How can you tell that a group is the wrong crowd?

1. One of the first indications of the kind of friends we have chosen can be found in the things they think are funny. If their idea of humor is a dirty joke, or some story that could not come from a pure heart, it is sure sign that we are in with the "wrong crowd."

There is no place in the mind or conversation of God's child for anything suggestive or defiled, and if such is funny to a person with whom you associate, there is no question but that you have made a poor choice of friends.

It is dangerous also when humor is turned to destructive activities. There is not anything funny about destroying property.

2. The "wrong crowd" is marked also by impure speech. Bible teaching is, "Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth." (Eph. 4:29) Some of us who would not think of violating this command ourselves will tolerate the worst kind of language from our friends.

If you want to do your best to avoid any regrets because of the "wrong crowd" listen carefully to their speech, and if it is impure then choose other friends.

3. Lack of respect for worship is another characteristic of the wrong crowd. Worship is that sweet communion with God which is carried out in harmony with his will.

You can gauge true friends by answering the following questions: Do your friends encourage you in faithfulness to worship? When you spend the night together, is it easy for you to get up the next morning and get ready to go to worship if it happening to be the Lord's Day? Does your crowd speak lightly of going to church services regularly?

4. A daredevil, reckless spirit is always found in the wrong crowd. There is little respect for dignity in behavior, or even for good manners. Every effort is made to impress others with the fact that here is a group that will do as they like, regardless of what others may think.

5. Finally, your friends are the "wrong crowd" if in any way they make it harder for you to be what God wants you to be. If you find your interest in spiritual things is decreasing, that you aren't as enthusiastic in your efforts to serve as you once were, it is time to do something about it — now! You can't afford to wait until you have become so deeply involved that all you can do is blame the "wrong crowd." Surround yourself with Christian friends. and allow their encouragement to bless you.

— Nashville, Tennessee