I am aware that my priorities, attitude, and even the language I used changed when I went off to college. As my priorities changed from family and church to partying and women, I began surrounding myself with like-minded people. Each one bringing corrupting influences of their own. As our partying continued, our group grew. The new additions brought with them more and more corrupting influences.
I am responsible for each decision I have made and am fully devoted to never repeating the mistakes of my past. With this comes the awareness that the people I surround myself with can help sharpen me or make me dull. They have the potential to uplift or to bring down.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33). It is easy to deceive oneself, downplaying the affects others have on us. The word corruption reminds me of decay or decomposition. This word projects a picture in my mind of something good and healthy devolving into something rancid. In ancient Tarsus, when someone was found guilty of murder, the dead victim would be attached to the murderer’s live body. The slow decay of the dead would cause a painful decay in the healthy body until it also dies. When we choose to be around another person, we are, in essence, tying ourselves to their influence. Another’s negativity, perversions, addictions, anger, or slothfulness can cause corruption in our healthy morals and attitudes.
This is one reason we started an unofficial mentorship program in the Christian services at our church. Participation is completely voluntary. Our group of church leaders meets daily to discuss Scripture, struggles, and victories, to pray, and to work out. The encouragement we feel and the growth we experience is evident. The mentorship program is introducing these opportunities to the rest of the congregation.
Making ourselves available presents an opportunity to pour into one another: knowledge, life experience, and offer an ear to listen with a shoulder to cry on. A problem shared is a problem cut in half. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). The most important part: the mentors have mentors of their own. The process of becoming a better man is never completed.