At youth group this week I spoke about how our friends can influence us positively or negatively. Here are some villains who could have used better friends.
Looking at Anakin, one would think that he had a solid group of friends who would have influenced him toward the light side. Anakin hung out with Obi-Wan, Yoda, Padme and Mace Windu. Yet their friendship wasn’t enough to counteract the negative influence of Palpatine. Because of Palpatine’s influence, Anakin gave into the dark side, killed a bunch of padawans and basically sent the galaxy into a decades-long tail spin. If Anakin had spent time with someone who wasn’t a Sith Master, things might have turned out different. Even if he had spent time with someone who understood that killing children was wrong, things might have been better. I suppose that’s the price one pays, though, for older, more mature and eviler friends.
I’ve never seen any of the Twilight movies and I only read the first book in order give a message at youth group. From my limited knowledge, though, even I know that Bella could have done with some better friends. She surrounded herself with vampires and werewolves, mythical beasts that are never up to any good. Even though they sparkle and have rippling abs, Bella’s life would have been far less complicated and much safer had she just spent time with the kids at school who hadn’t been turned into godless monsters. It also would have been better for Bella not to spend time with a 100-year-old creeper, cradle robber.
Smeagol had two friends: a possessed ring and the guy he killed in order to get the ring. With his friend pool cut in half, Smeagol had no choice but to focus all of his attention on the ring. It’s unhealthy for any person to have only one friend. People shouldn’t abandon all of their friends for girlfriends, boyfriends or spouses; we need more than one singular relationship in our lives. Smeagol broke that rule and locked himself into a committed relationship with an evil ring of power. That relationship negatively influenced Smeagol and he abandoned every good thing, became obsessed with the ring and indifferent to personal hygiene.
Our friends have a tremendous influence on us. We need to choose wisely when it comes to those with whom we spend time. Who knows, if any of the above had chosen better friends, it’s possible that their lives could have turned out better.
And while we can’t say what would have happened if Bella spent time with the living as opposed to the dead, we do know what will happen to us if we choose wise, God-honoring friends. Our choices will reflect their wise choices and our actions will reflect their God-honoring actions.
How do you discern who you’ll spend time with?