Character and the Poisoned Waterhole

When I was doing youth ministry, one of the questions parents asked me regularly was, “How do I keep my kid from getting in with the wrong crowd?” The question stretches into the world of celebrity, pro sports, business – yes and even churches. The wrong crowd will always poison the waterhole of character.


In the wrong crowd, there is always an Influencer. He (or she) will often suggest the actions that he will not do. He (or she) will talk a degree of crazy that is seen as funny or exciting. Often one or more followers in the crowd will take the initiative of stupidity and do it. The Influencer will never accept responsibility for their actions and will point at followers and say, “I didn’t tell them to do it.” In any crowd – look at the character of the Influencer and you will find the character of the crowd.


If you have a child that shows the character of a follower, it is critical that you develop in them a strong sense of what is good and evil, right and wrong. It’s rare that a true follower becomes the Influencer. Therefore, your teaching must be purposed, consistent and pervasive. For a follower, all moments are teaching moments. With a character based on high moral values, the follower will find an Influencer of that same character to follow.


When a person “gets in” with the wrong crowd, it doesn’t take long to see the influence of the crowd on a person who was of moldable character. Paul wrote, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). That corruption is not accidental. The Enemy is always seeking to “kill, steal and destroy” lives. This is why character matters – it determines destiny.


When a person seeks a position of leadership, whether in an organization, business, politics or a church, he or she is inviting an examination of their conduct, words, character and even relationships. We all encounter people of weak character in life. We make evaluations about them. Sometimes by simply meeting a person, we can sense that they are not good. Others hide the reality of their character, but eventually, the force of truth smashes the wall of deceit and exposes them.


One test of character is how quickly we cut ties with those who prove themselves to be without honor. I heard Donald Trump yesterday talking about what a great guy Howard Stern is. He said that the radio/T.V. persona is not who he really is. But you see, we are not allowed such duplicity as to have one set of morals publicly and another in private. Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).


The wrong crowd; those who influence our belief system, who sway our actions and nudge us in the direction of their own interest; these poison the waterhole of character. The wrong crowd will not poison a person of noble character. This person will examine associates, sever relationships and maintain integrity of soul. The evil Influencers will hold no sway. “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water” (The Revelation 7:17). 


telemicus out

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