The theme of Proverbs 13:20 is Influence [the sway or effect one has on another]. Notice the truth Solomon imparts regarding the influence of friendships:
Proverbs 13:20 – “He that walketh with [befriends; is a companion of] wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Every good parent will be concerned and vigilant about the friends and influences in their son or daughter’s life. Why? The power and responsibility to influence others is a fact we all share! People influence us Verbally by what they say or communicate [examples–letters, emails, social media]. In addition, a friend’s Actions and Attitudes have an influence on us.
Too few parents are willing to accept the responsibility of examining honestly their child’s friendships and understanding that friends have a profound influence on a child’s character and ultimately their destiny.
Solomon’s proverb is direct: A wise man will seek the company of likeminded men–those who evidence wisdom and discernment; however, a “companion of fools shall be destroyed” [the picture drawn by the word “companion” is of cattle that graze together. Ever notice how a herd of cattle grazing in a large pasture stand together, often feeding in the same direction?].
The apostle Paul warned the church in Corinth: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The word “communications” can also be translated “companions”; the word “manners” can be translated “morals”. Literally, don’t be misled: wicked, sinful friends will defile one’s moral judgment [i.e. spiritual discernment; the ability to discern right and wrong].
Lesson – The character of one’s friendships is a mirror of one’s own character.
Friendships have the power to edify or destroy. If you run with fools, you are a fool! If you choose the company of those who have godly wisdom and discernment, they will influence you to be the same.
Reflect on the people who bear influence upon your life, thoughts and values. Are your friends spiritually minded men and women? Is their influence edifying? Do your friends strengthen you spiritually? Do you go to a church where you and your family are under sound Biblical exposition and influenced by godly relationships?
Psalms 1:1 – “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”