I’ll begin with a Bible quote: “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." – 1 Corinthians 15:33
Perhaps starting off with a Scripture will turn away some people, yet there really isn’t a better way to begin. I don’t want to come across as such a Bible-thumping Christian that I make those of you who are not Christians turn away, but I also don’t want anyone to think I was disguising the Christian aspects of this article in an attempt to trick you into buying in to biblical principles. It is for this reason – transparency and blunt openness and honesty – that I have chosen to go ahead and reference the Scripture that gave me the title of the article. I think you will find that as the subject unfolds, there would be no misunderstanding either way about the nature or foundation of my thought process. It is overtly Christian.
Now that I have that out of the way, I want to say two things:
1. When I refer to “Christians” throughout the article, I would also include any practicing members of Jewish faith.
2. The rest of the article might not be necessary to those Christians who truly follow the Scripture above with prayer, caution, and deep thought, however I do believe this instruction in Scripture is exponentially more important in a SHTF scenario than it might be in everyday life. Furthermore, it is my belief that commandments and instruction in Scripture do not need further exposition except for the fact that most of us – myself included – often need it said in eighteen different ways before it sinks in that we need to simply follow and obey!
So here we have instruction in the Bible – “do not be misled.” Words like these always stick out to me because they do not occur often in Scripture, so when they do, I take notice and think about what they are implying, perhaps a bit longer than I do other verses. If the Bible is saying NOT to be misled, then it stands to reason that the area it is referring to is one that people are quite often misled about. Myself not wanting to be misled, I pay attention to what follows: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
At first glance, I think to myself something along the lines of “duh” but then, again, I decide to think deeper about it. It must not be a “duh” kind of subject if so many are easily misled on this issue. I won’t waste time with some sort of doctrinal article about all the ways I see people can be misled on this, but I would rather focus on why this is such an important area when it comes to a TEOTWAWKI / SHTF scenario and ultimately, your survival.
There is a saying that “no man is an island” which implies that we all need others. Well, that is mostly true. There is another saying that “every man is an island” which, while in direct contradiction with the previous statement, is also true. We are all our own “islands” when it comes to our relationship and accountability to God. When we stand before Him, there won’t be anyone with us. Just us. Islands. This distinction is ironic because the way I see things, because none of us is an “island” on earth, the importance of who is in our “company” – be it good or bad – directly affects the day we all recognize what we were all “islands” before God.
My wife and I had a conversation recently about our prepping and survival plans should anything catastrophic happen. We don’t have a lot of money, and we take advantage and get necessary items when we see sales, but thankfully we think alike when it comes to planning. More and more we find that our mindsets are in concert any time we talk of the future. We both believe in the need for supplies as well as the need for a group in order to survive a truly long-term collapse. We used to think we could make it alone, but even in the most remote setting that required no security watchmen, we would be vulnerable to injury or sickness. Fact is, we realized that we are not an island. We will need at least 2 to 6 more people in order to live securely. In our recent conversation, I mentioned some “friends” (I use that term loosely here because true friends are those I would have around after a collapse) and told her bluntly, “You realize that if things collapse and we have to form a group, Bobby and Jane (as I’ll call them) are out.” Being that the “Jane” in this couple of “friends” is closer to her than I am to the “Bobby,” I was shocked to find that she looked down rather sadly and said, “Yeah, I know.” She got it. I didn’t have to explain.
Bobby and Jane are not Christians, and as much as I am willing to do things with them socially and have had long conversations with them about God, they are opposed to the idea of a God and do not wish to talk about it further. Again, in THESE times, I am fine to oblige them and respect their wishes. I will continue to be a friend to them, hunt with Bobby, and love their children…but when it comes to the survival of my wife and children in a much different world, I know that I cannot have them around, as much as I hate it for them, and in some ways, for us.
Now some might be thinking that I sound cruel and heartless, or that I am taking too hard of a line when it comes to my faith. Let me start off saying that I understand your thoughts – they were thoughts of mine at first. But then I remembered: “do not be misled.” The words have weight and made me think – and after much prayer, thought, and contemplation, I finally got it.
Christianity is a family, and I don’t need quotes on that word. It isn’t a pseudo-family, it’s a true family. The word family isn’t just a nice metaphor for the entire collective on planet Earth known as Christians – it is a definition. We are family. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Race, gender, nationality, etc, have no meaning when someone is a Christian. If they follow Christ, they are my brother or sister, and the fact is, nobody loves you like family and you cannot risk the health and welfare of your family by trusting someone outside of it.
“Why not?” you might ask. “Aren’t there other trustworthy people out there who simply aren’t Christians?” The short answer is yes…the more complicated answer is NO.
Yes, there are people out there who have a sense of morality and who hold some of the same Judeo-Christian moral standards we have without actually being Jewish or Christian, but if my experience in meeting them is any indication, they are few and far between. The larger issue though is that they might be moral right now, in this society, but who knows after the SHTF. So then, why do I say no? Because of the scenario we have to envision.
Society has collapsed. The dollar is gone. There is no monetary system in place. The grid is down. Fuel is running out quickly. Food and water are running out even faster. Everyone is in a state of panic and scared about how they are going to survive. Bands of looters have already started roaming the streets assaulting anyone they see and taking what they want by force. There is no law and order. There are no firefighters or paramedics. No governing body of any consequence is to be found. Every family is on its own, and you have to choose a few friends to survive with. Guess what – you better choose wisely because these could be the people you grow old with. These could be the people your kids grow up around. These will be the people who defend you, your wife, and your kids when the time comes. These are your family for now and for the foreseeable future.
Now let me say, I am all for having a group with various skills. I personally have learned a tremendous amount of skills in the past three years that I never thought about needing ten years ago. I have learned to can, to hunt, to garden, to raise chickens and livestock, to fell trees and split wood, to fix minor vehicle issues that I would have simply let someone else do years ago, and many other things not worth mentioning, but I am still no expert at them and definitely not proficient enough to want to survive – or have others rely – on my skills in every area. I could definitely use some guys and gals around with skills I do not possess. However, just because I may want a certain skill set in my group does not mean I can compromise on the character of those who have the skills. I mentioned “Bobby” earlier, and truth be told, there are two other “friends” in the same vein. These guys have awesome skills. One is a doctor, the other is an ex-Army engineer and mechanic, and “Bobby” is ex-military as well. Those are some serious skills I would like in my group, but none of these three men are God-fearing. In fact, I would rate them more on the God-hating side of the bar.
So here is where I could deceive myself into thinking it will be okay. I could say to myself, “Their skills are necessary and they have been friends with me for years. It will be fine. They know where I stand and in time hopefully they will come to know God.” But I know this is simply me trying to have my cake and eat it too. It is self-serving because I want the skills on my side. As an athletic coach, I know a thing or two about assembling teams with certain skill sets and directing them as a unit. I know the value of having the right skills for the right position. So why then am I planning to exclude these highly-skilled individuals based solely on their faith, or lack thereof? I will give you three reasons:
1. If a man is not a Christian, he has no personal accountability to God Himself. For me, this is of utmost importance. We are not talking about living in the easy times as we do now – we are talking about total anarchy. Complete chaos and an extreme change in the way our lives are lived. I simply cannot trust a man to lay down his life for me or my family – if need be – if that man is not accountable to God. A man not inwardly accountable to God is only living for and accountable to himself and his family. What if that man is taking watch one night while my family and I sleep when suddenly a group of armed men rush the property? How can I trust that he will defend my family like it is his family if he does not see it that way? As I said earlier, Christians are family, and we know that in that situation, if we defended our own wives and children to the detriment of the others, God would not approve and we would answer for it. We would be willing to lay down our life to defend and warn the others. But a man who does not know God – a man unsure of his own eternal destiny – I do not believe that man will sacrifice his life for anyone except his own, nor am I willing to roll the dice about it.
2. If a man is not a Christian, he does not hold the Bible in any regard and will not submit to its authority. As Christians, we plan to live according to the instruction God has given in His Word. Anyone allowed to live among our group who thinks the Bible is just some mythical book would cause great friction and ultimately not abide by our way of life. In the times ahead, the last thing I need to worry about is some guy who has major influence on my children filling their heads with thoughts antagonistic to God and His Word – or even if he didn’t do so, I don’t need to worry that he will!
3. And finally, there is the title of this article: “bad company corrupts good character.” If a man does not follow Christ, he is bad company. Jesus said "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” (Mt 12:30) I cannot have a man who is against Christ scattering and dividing my group. Furthermore, there will be a better chance that my children might grow up without me around in this new, violent world, and of all my “preps” I want the main one to be the “village” that will raise my kids in my absence. A son without a father – and sometimes with a father – will want to gravitate toward an adult male who will impart wisdom as a father would. I have to know that whoever my son might choose to fill that role will teach him the way I would, and that he will have a chance to know God because of it.
And lastly, in the same vein as reason 3, I must apply the Scripture directly to myself. If I invite non-Christians (bad company) to live with me as closely as we will be living, what then becomes of me? I might think that my character is strong and my devotion to Christ is unshakable, but Scripture tells me that the bad will corrupt the good, not the other way around. Again, I may want to think the opposite is true, but that is why it tells us “do not be misled.” It would be so easy to do so, especially in the seemingly impossible times that would surely lie ahead. I cannot trust my own wisdom or my own character. I must trust God’s wisdom and surround myself first with men who fear Him, and second with men of worldly skill and ability.
Choose your friends and associates wisely.