Below are some additional interactions on the article: Influence of Friends. Read it first.
The word Proverb means “a wise or clever saying in the form of a comparison or a simile.” Solomon, the son of King David, is credited with writing over 3000 proverbs, and many of them are recorded in the book of the Bible called “Proverbs.”
There are quite a few movies out that are part of the genre “teen comedy.” The tacking on of “teen” seems to mean that the movie will be filled with crazy insanely comedic situations that only teenagers could get themselves into. The ridiculousness of these comedies are rarely matched elsewhere. So what is it that pushes these young characters to get into such crazy situations? Their friends!! One of the original teen comedies—American Pie—is completely based on the influence of friends. Every minute one of them is calling the other a pussy or a wimp. They push each other to prove their manhood by doing anything it takes to hook up with a girl. The focus of sexual gratification and the social status that comes with it is practically all that these films are about. While movies like American Pie, 100 Girls, Harold and Kumar, Van Wilder and Superbad, are funny and often contain at least one couple that has true love on the brain, the influence of the friends to make each other do some pretty insane (and usually regretful) things is undeniable.
Not all of the influence is bad though. Often a character is pushed to stand up for themselves and find their inner strength, and you see the influence of his friends give him the courage he needs. There are good things that result from the teenage characters convincing each other to do more in life, but there is something in the way it is done that is disconcerting. The name-calling and verbal put downs that pour out of their mouths seem to counteract their entire argument. In the midst of encouraging their friend to do something good in life, the friends constantly berate and insult one another. The influence of the friends in these films is evident, but their compassion and genuine love for one another is often less clear, making these films both saddening and poor examples to a certain extent. It seems like often we ridicule our friends rather than encourage them. We choose to shame them into action rather than empowering them through loving acceptance to succeed.
1 Corinthians 15: 31–33—The apostle Paul writes a letter to the believers in Corinth discussing the influence of certain kinds of friends.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12—a reality described
1 Thessalonians 5:14—be an influencer for good
Small group guide:
This YouTube clip is from a classic story of friendship between Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings. What biblical ideas on ‘what makes a good friend’ do you find in this one scene? Look for themes of loyalty and commitment and encouragement.
From the Disney movie Aladdin, the Genie describes himself as a special kind of friend with a special kind of influence. How might his effect on Aladdin be positive and/or negative?
Large group guide:
- How can you be a positive influence for a close friend? Write down their name, the issue or attitude you want to influence, and what you should say or do to provide that influence (feel free to use biblical examples to support your guidance).
- How could you “carry” a friend to the feet of Jesus so they might be “healed” in a way that changes their life? When will you do that? Can you name other friends who will help you?
If you have Facebook, look at how many ‘friends’ you have. Understanding something about the influence of friends, identify the friends who are the top five positive influencers. How have they positively influenced you? Can you label the ones who are negative or bad influences on you? Remembering some of the proverbs, should you consider keeping them as friends?