I grew up in a small town in northern Michigan with a population of less than 5,000. I was raised in a Catholic environment, but I never really knew the Lord and what it meant to live for Him. I also attended the public school system from day one which even in a small town, had a large demographic of students of different backgrounds. While in class, it was relatively easy to pick out the troublemakers in the class. They were the ones that were sent to the office regularly, parent phone calls to their home, detentions, and suspensions. Do not get me wrong, I have fulfilled my fair share of detentions and corrective disciplines, but once I had learned my lessons, I rarely found myself in that behavior again.
Fast forward ten years and I am in high school when peer pressure and social status are important. The same kids that were troublemakers in elementary school just happen to be the same troublemakers in high school and the choices they have made are rubbing off on others. Instead of causing trouble in class, now they are trying alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, it is disobeying the ones that love you most and neglecting the real friends you once had. It really was a blessing that I never found myself in that crowd, but to see the same story in a biblical manner, magnified the blessing that much more.
In the book of Titus, the Apostle Paul is giving us a guideline on how to treat people. He says to be trustworthy, kind, and speak evil of no one. He also noted that we were once foolish, disobedient, and unworthy sinners until the grace and mercy of God saved our souls. One of the hardest parts of this chapter is the moment where we are told to give up our pursuit of someone’s faith. Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” For me, there were only a few friends of mine that fell into the dark and would not stop trying to illicit me into the same sin. It was hard for me to do, but I had to let go and let God. I did not entirely give up on my pursuit of these old friendships. Luckily, we have the privilege to pray and talk to God about these souls and pray that He does a work in their life that we are incapable of doing. I am a firm believer that you are who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with sin, you will sin. If you surround yourself with people who encourage and lift you up, you will be encouraged to be the best version of yourself and the person that God wants you to be. I encourage you all to take a look at your closest friends and family and see what they are pouring into your life. Make a concise decision on whether to pursue their walk with Christ or to pray for them and to let go and let God.