The Choice of One's Companions

Louis Berkhof

1. The Necessity of Choosing Companions.

This necessity follows in the first place from the fact that man is a sociable being. He feels the need of and takes great delight in the company of others. The boys and girls that go to school, and the man on his way to work, all seek their companions. And the neighborly visits of women testify to their sociability. A normal person cannot be truly happy without the of others. The recluse and the hermit are abnormal beings.

But it is not only necessary that man have companions; he should and generally does deliberately choose his associates in life. In the animal world we also notice the workings of the social instinct, but we can hardly say that the animals choose their companions. Man, however, is a free, self-determining moral being, and therefore can and should intelligently choose his comrades.

2. The Importance of Making a Careful Choice.

Great care must be exercised in choosing one's companions, since we come in contact with all kinds of people, cheerful and gloomy, kind-hearted and brutal, wise and foolish, persons of bad and of good moral habits, pious and wicked people.

Those whom we choose will always exercise some formative influence on us. We may not be conscious of this at the time, yet their influence will work steady and sure. Their thoughts, their words, their conduct and all their deeds will make a lasting impression on our minds.

This is particularly the case if we are still young. Then, as a rule, we have no firm convictions and no sufficient will-power to resist the influences that act upon us from without. And if they are evil--we are easily led astray.

3. The Proper Procedure in Choosing Our Friends.

It is necessary, first of all, that we make a prayerful choice. Let us never forget the significance of prayer in this respect. In connection with this we should allow ourselves to be guided by the Word of God.

In the second place it is incumbent on us to pay particular attention to the moral character of those whom we contemplate as our friends. Moral character is of far more consequence in this respect than physical or mental ability. Choose above all, those who fear the Lord.

Moreover, in the third place our young people should never forget to consult their parents in the choice of their friends and must always heed their advice, since these see things far better as a rule than they do.