“One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 (ESV)
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (Probably from Menander’s comedy Thais)
Mom understood that a neighbor was anyone she met. Like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, mom saw people as her friends who had needs, so she was their friend, regardless of their ability to show her friendship or seek to help her. She also understood the value of being a friend. She also had a knack for selecting the ones who lived on the edges and were not pretty, prosperous or prudent. If others ignored someone, Mom saw that person as someone who needed a good friend. If it was someone she didn’t like, she served anyway.
She also understood the value of good and godly friends, because she didn’t want to follow bad advice or corrupting companionship. The Proverbs issue many warnings about the dangers of spending time with troublemakers and crooked in their living (Proverbs 2 comes to mind.) Because she was careful in choosing friends, I had a good and wise father. Dad wasn’t perfect, nor was Mom, but they set an example for their children by picking friends who would be helpful and not hurtful.
Here are two things mom said with her life: 1) everyone could use a good friend and neighbor who needed the love in the second command Jesus gave as most important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 2) While I will be a friend to everyone, I won’t accept friendship from just anyone.
Here is an excellent reminder from Greg Morse with the link for the full article below. It is possible to love people you don’t like if you think like Jesus: “How to Love People You Don’t Like.”
Desiring God: PeopleYouDon’tLike