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Hanging with coal?
Pastor Mike Novotny
by Pastor Mike Novotny
February 3, 2024

When I was a kid, my pastor showed the kids at our church how friendships work. He took a giant ziplock bag and dropped a few pieces of dusty coal inside of it. “These are your friends,” he said. Then he picked up a marshmallow and held it up for all of us to see. “And this is you,” he continued. “So what do you think will happen if I put you in here with them?” Even before he dropped the marshmallow inside, zipped up the bag, and shook it all together, we knew what would happen.

God taught the same lesson through the proverbs three thousand years ago. King Solomon wisely stated, “A companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Notice how Solomon doesn’t insist that a companion of fools becomes a fool himself. Rather, the friend of fools “suffers harm,” much like the buddy of a hotheaded guy finds himself in the middle of too many arguments and altercations.

Is this warning God’s personal word to you today? Are there any foolish people—angry, drunken, gossipy people who don’t seem to care about changing their ways—whom our Father wants you to avoid?

He’s a good dad and would hate to see you suffer harm. So before it’s too late, stay away from fools and spend your time walking with the wise.