Do not spend time among drunkards,
among those who eat too much meat,
because drunkards and gluttons become impoverished,
and drowsiness clothes them with rags.
You become like those you spend time with. If you didn’t know that, consider yourself in the know! It’s just the nature of who we are. When we spend a lot of time around the same people, you start to pick up some of their personality. You pick up some of their habits. You pick up some of the phrases that they use.
It’s like how old couples start to look alike. They wear the same kinds of clothes. Their body styles often start to look like the other. Their language sounds the same. Their mannerisms are the same. That’s because you become like those you spend time with.
This is why you need to be careful who you choose to invest your time with. When you don’t think through the kind of people you allow to influence you, you’ll end up becoming a completely different person and never knowing why. You don’t want that to happen. You want to live intentionally. You want to live with a purpose and vision for your life.
When you have a purpose and vision for your life, it guides everything. Including the friends you spend time with. You may notice that there are friends who bring you down. There may be some who don’t bring you down or lift you up, but they just waste your time. There may be others who bring you up and raise you to a higher level.
The first category of friends is pretty easy to cut out. Most of us are able to see which people bring us down and then stop seeing them. That’s pretty natural for us.
Not quite as easy, but still not too difficult is finding the friends who raise you up. They’re easy to find, but usually hard to get time with. They’re hard to get time with because everyone else has realized that they are lifters.
However, today’s proverb is warning against that middle group of people. These are the subtle friends who steal our time without us knowing about. These are the ones who don’t work hard. They don’t like to work hard, so they are predisposed to look for every opportunity to get out of work. Often times, getting out of work also means stopping others from doing work. They might not be bad people to hang out with. They are fun, they like to have a good time. After all, it’s fun to eat food with friends. But we must be very wary of those friends like this who weasel their way into our lives.
These are the ones who will become impoverished. They will eat all their food, your food, the governments food, and then go looking for more. They weasel their way into your life, siphon off what they can, and then move on. They’re like locusts. But instead of using force and volume, they use flattery and friendship. Just because they’re being your friend now, doesn’t mean you want them as a friend. And since you become like those you spend time with, you too may find yourself washing over the plains.
Be careful of the locusts. If I know my history, when locusts appear, it doesn’t usually end well.