Thoughts of friendships and how relationships impact our lives. There seems a natural law that we will be judged by the company we keep, or have kept. The revelation is hitting me hard that the actions of those with whom I have aligned myself will translate onto me, good or bad. My friendships, both current and past - even the one I chose to marry - will change how people view me, talk to me...judge me. It happens every day.
And who is to say who the LORD will place in our lives? It is He who gives us compassion towards others, right? Is it not He who determines who will cross paths and when...and for what purpose? Only He knows the outcomes of alliances and commitments. For ultimately, He has enabled bonds to form between souls. Who is like Him so much that they can dictate when that is right or wrong?
I have to ask myself if my judgment of someone due to their connections is righteous, or even fair. Have you ever considered a person's friendships while weighing their character? Further, have I made determinations based upon someones friendships with those that have caused me discomfort or pain? Is it a possibility to be able to accept someone with an open mind and heart knowing their associations? Is it even something that I can control within myself?
'Birds of a feather flock together' is a rather pithy proverb with which we are all familiar. In my life I have witnessed this to be true. I suppose it is not so unfair to judge others by their associations, in light of this truth. There are times when that information is all we have when it comes to relational decision-making; it would seem all wisdom to consider a person's affiliations when making determinations of character. However, it weighs heavy on my mind that every person I befriend (and the closeness of that friendship) will somehow impact how others see me, both in good and bad ways. If I befriend the unrighteous, I will be seen as not quite as trustworthy or righteous despite my behavior to prove otherwise. If I spend time with the pious, of course, I have nothing to fear, right? I suspect it would depend on who is doing the judging.
At the end of the day, I have to accept the consequences for the relationships I have enjoyed, regardless of how they are viewed by others. Ultimately, it rests in the hands and mind of the Almighty, for I fully believe all things work towards good for those who are committed to glorifying His Name. Perhaps just affirming that fact makes the judgment easier to understand and swallow. It certainly makes me more aware of my own rather automatic character conclusions, and possible trust or distrust due to affiliations, of those who come into my life.
Heavy thoughts for this mind, to be sure.