A friend got a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. She took him to puppy training classes and worked with him diligently so he would be a well-trained dog.
“Your dog can stay here while you’re gone,” she told her married son and his wife. They were making plans for a two-week vacation.
Little did she realize the influence their older dog would have on her puppy. The puppy learned to beg for food from the table, dig holes in the yard, and howl until he was allowed to sleep in bed with the humans. He hadn’t been doing any of these things until he saw the older dog doing them. After the older dog went back to its home, the puppy needed retraining.
The puppy didn’t have any influence on the older dog. The older dog was very secure in what she would and would not do.
Many times we behave like this puppy and are influenced by other people instead of being secure in what we say and do. Under the influence of others, we may have told and/or listened to bad jokes, helped spread gossip, agreed with judgmental comments—on and on.
We cannot always stay away from people with bad behaviors, but we can remain steadfast to the training we have received from God. Our good character is maintained when other people don’t effect us adversely in what we believe and how we behave.
“Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God--I say this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 (NIV)