“And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the (out)cry of them is waxen (grown) great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked (joked) unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity (punishment) of the city.”Genesis 19:12-15
I have had people warn me, “stay away from bad influences”, but sadly in my life I have been one of those bad influences. Even though I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian school, I still struggled to do what was right. I was not leading Bible studies or others in prayer. I often had a bad attitude and did not care when the Bible was being taught or preached. I had the perfect opportunity to grow in the Lord, but yet I chose to fall into spiritual atrophy. I grew weak spiritually and I led people the wrong way.
In 1994, I graduated from high school and grew close to a younger friend who looked up to me. We spent that summer together and he basically came to live with me and my family. We spent every day together, and he ate up every word I said to him. I had the perfect opportunity to be a godly example, but instead I tried to teach him how to be tough and other dumb stuff that did not matter. He started to emulate who I was, but then he took it a step further.
I left Arizona later that year and moved to Chicago. I tried to keep in touch with my friend, but since we didn’t have cell phones and texting, we were relegated to letters and monthly phone calls. We kept in touch as much as possible and he came out to Chicago to spend the summer of 1995. I was happy to see him, but he seemed a bit different. He had grown physically but he had also changed for the worse. He had taken what I had taught him and took it to another level that I never dreamed of. He was into things I had never done, and his appetite for wickedness was beyond anything I wanted to entertain. His actions quite frankly scared me, and I grew sorrowful knowing I played a part in that. He soon left as the summer ended and I was glad to see him go. My little friend had grown into a terror and has since spent his life in and out of jail.
My heart breaks to think of how his life has turned out, and I remember trying to talk to him about God that last summer, but he was too far gone to listen. I squandered my opportunity to be a godly example and my “too little too late” words fell deaf on his ears. I tried to warn him of the danger to come as I saw where he was headed. My warnings were not heeded partly because I failed to instill in him godly things and because of the poor choices I had made in front of him. I had the opportunity to be a better friend, but yet I squandered that opportunity with my sinful advice and ambitions. I had lost my testimony with him and he mocked my warnings. I cannot change the friend I was, but with God’s help, I can be a godly friend now.
I think of Lot and how he tried to warn his family about the danger to come, and that they simply thought he was joking. Lot made a choice to raise his family in a wicked place, and the consequences of that choice cost him family members. The Bible does not say that Lot led his family in a righteous way or lived for God, but only speaks of how wicked Sodom and Gomorrah was. He was ashamed when the angels came as the people of the city acted wickedly and had wicked intentions. He did not live his life as a godly example and this cost him greatly when he tried to save his family. A godless life has consequences that extends far beyond our own lives. Living for God matters, and it matters to more than you think.
Where are you today? What kind of friend are you? Do you lead people to godliness or do you lead people down the path of destruction? Do people even know you are a Christian? Are you warning others of the danger to come? Maybe you are not committing wickedness, but are you choosing living in the midst of it? May God help us to set the world on fire for His honor and glory before He comes again and it is too late. Will you make a difference for eternity in a godly way or will you hear the cry of others whom you led astray? May we be able ambassadors for our God and may we make our God look good. Matthew 5:16 states, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”