Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. (Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV)
Do you know anyone who you’d call hot-tempered or volatile?
Not too long ago, I was standing at the end of a very long line at the airport. The person in front of me was complaining to their companion. The line progressed very slowly. The person kept looking at his watch and grumbling under his breath. By the time we got to the front of the line, this man was boiling mad. I could tell there would be an eruption when he got to the counter – which made me very uneasy.
I don’t like conflict. I didn’t even know the man in line, but I cowered as yelled at the woman at the counter.
Today’s verse is a warning. Destructive behaviors rub off with proximity. I like the image of a spider web – if you get too close you get caught!
Although it’s hard for me to imagine befriending someone easily angered, I have had friends who grumbled and complained a lot. After spending time with them, I find I am also discontent. In a group of women gossiping, I easily fall into the temptation to gossip.
We are to be in the world, but not of the world (John 17:14 ff), To be light and salt. (Matthew 5:13-16) But just as salt can lose its saltiness, spending too much time with people who are not walking with the Lord can influence our relationship with Jesus.
So, let’s take this warning to heart, and keep from getting ensnared.