FRIDAY, APRIL 20: You have heard the saying, ‘Association breeds assimilation’, or perhaps you have heard an elder say, “Show me your company and I will tell you who you are.”

Both of those statements speak to the very same point, that it truly does matter who you hang with.

There are so many factors that will determine the road you will travel.

Will it be God’s destiny road for you, or will it be the disturbing road paved by your own choices?

One road is the preferred, less travelled road, and the other is usually filled with people you know very well.

Your progress to fulfilling life-long dreams will depend on who you allow to influence you.

Who is it that you listen to more than anyone else? Who is it that you trust ‘with your life?’. 

Who is it that you seek to find in order to gain approval or congratulations on a choice you made?

Who is it that you would change your decision for, because they do not agree with your choice?

Matthew 9:1: And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

The man in the text found himself going nowhere. He was a man with seemingly nothing to celebrate. 

Yet, I believe that there was something about that man that can be very much celebrated.

Possibilities

What is it? Well, he had great friends. He was surrounded by friends who saw more in him than his current state of reality. What good friends those friends were.

You can learn how to judge your own friends, based on how those four friends behaved.

Here is what made those friends honourable: In their physically well state, they did not shun their friend who was not able to do the things that they were able to do.

It would have been easy for the four friends to carry on life without the paralytic man.

Instead they included the man in their lives.

Those four friends looked beyond the deficits of the paralytic man and saw their friend’s possibilities.

In other words, the four friends invested hope into the future of their lame friend.

Those friends did not cancel out the possibility that, in spite of where the lame man was at that point, it was not necessarily the prognosis for the rest of his life.

The four friends must have been looking out for their friend, even when they were not with their friend.

Were they always looking to find a cure or a great physician who could help their friend? 

This we do not know. What we do know is that the friends knew of Jesus and had the knowledge of what Jesus was doing in the lives of others.

Oh yes. When you know what Jesus is doing to bring about restoration, healing, and wholeness in the lives of others, you desire the same for your friend.

The friends went to get the lame man from where he was in order to take him to another place.

They had not settled with the conclusion that their friend should remain in his hopeless state. No, there was a better state possible.

The friends carried their lame friend to Jesus.

When you know that Jesus is the answer, then you carry every problem to Jesus.

Real friends do not make things worse. Oh no. Real friends take you to ‘The One’ who can turn around your life.

Real friends will not leave you in your lame position.

Real friends do not consider your lame situation to be too heavy to carry. No, they will work together to take you to Jesus, because they have full confidence that even though they may carry you there, they will not be carrying you back home.

Real friends always see the potential in you. That potential is faith. They watered the faith of the lame man by taking him to Jesus.

Jesus congratulated the friends and then saved the lame man from his sins and sent him walking back home.

Indeed, it does matter with whom you keep company.

Your choice of friends can be your doom and gloom or they can cause you to have a bright future. Watch out for those with whom you keep company.

• Dr Maria A Seaman is the pastor of Shekinah Worship Centre, North Shore, Hamilton Parish.