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Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

Relationships shape our lives. We actually become different people because of the relationships we form. Daniel G. Amen in his book Change Your Brain Change Your Life sites research that shows people become more angry or more positive when they are in the presence of others who have those emotions. When I say, “relationships shape us,” I mean that in the most literal way. Our brains are actually changed by others. So, the question is: how are we shaping those around us? Yes, we want to consider the people we surround ourselves with, but remember you have the ability to change someone forever by the way you interact with someone else.

The human experience is far more complex than we often like to admit. There are subtle agents in our world, both physically and spiritually, that effect who we become. This may be a shift for some of us to think about, but when we do, we must also remember that we are one of those shaping agents for people around us. When we speak words of encouragement to someone, we shape them. When we leak frustration and complaints, we also shape them. One of the best ways to prepare yourself to influence others positively is to be shaped well yourself. Your relationship with Jesus can actually shape you if you give attention to him. Let his words shape you. Interact with God relationally. Let him speak to you both through is word and through prayer. As he rubs off on you, you can shape those around you positively.

There is a hit song on the radio right now that speaks to the shaping power of friendship. It’s not a Christian song by any stretch, but it does a great job of reflecting on the powerful emotions we associate with those around us. Listen to the song “Castle On The Hill” by Ed Sheeran. Yes, he speaks of drinking and smoking, but ultimately it’s the people who, “raised him” that caused him to feel a strong draw to go home. The song sparks a feeling of nostalgia for me even though I didn’t have a childhood anything like Ed’s. I think that’s because I had good friendships I, too, can reflect on. Good friends are hard to come by, so why not learn to be one for those who are seeking one. What deep lifelong joys can you shape into your friendships?


Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
    nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways
    and entangle yourself in a snare.

Proverbs 22:24-25

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By Aaron Bjorklund  

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