I am sure that most or all of you have heard the old saying “Birds of a feather flock together.” A man by the name of William Turner has been credited with this statement in something he wrote back in 1545, but other accounts think it could have originated with Plato. The idea of this old proverb “…does originate from nature’s phenomenon of birds which are similar flocking together. They reduce the risk of a predator attack because of the ‘safety in numbers’ feature.” (Source: theidioms.com)
If you will notice, most birds and animals are in groups of their own kind. Even if they mingle with other groups, the like animals will stay pretty close together. There is a comfort level that results in confidence when you feel safe being in a comfortable companionship. When I think about this, I picture groups of animals I have seen in shows about the African Savanna. You might see different kinds of animals and birds mingling together, but any kind of a threat will drive them immediately to their own. (“The quote ‘Birds of a feather flock together’ simply means that people with common traits, interests and tastes tend to associate and congregate with each other, similar to how birds of the same species flock together.” Source: bibleornot.org)
Now in relating this train of thought to humans…I believe that it is critically important for us to select our closest friends carefully. We are going to feel more comfortable socializing with people that for the most part have the same standards/morals that we do. For example, if you are a Christian, you are not going to feel comfortable spending much time around an outspoken atheist. If you do not drink alcohol or do not indulge in taking illegal drugs, you are not going to feel comfortable spending time around people that are participating in those activities.
We may think that in order to help others see the best option for their life and hopefully better themselves, that we need to spend more time with them. The potential “danger” of putting ourselves into that position of spending too much time with people that are so very different from us is that we could, over time, be influenced by their behavior. So much so that we begin to rationalize that in order to have any positive influence on them we need to be more like them. That is a slippery slope to venture into. Many good people have found themselves in compromising situations that ruined their lives by doing that very thing. “…stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character.” (1 Cor. 15:33 TPT) “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 16:14-15 NLT)
This does not mean that we should totally avoid being around anyone who has a lifestyle or beliefs that are different from our own. How could we ever hope to have any kind of positive influence on them if we intentionally avoided them? But, living a good life before them and sharing better ideas in an unthreatening way in small doses, is a more rational way to approach them; and, never forget the importance of prayer!
I do not believe that we were created to be totally self-sufficient and independent. I believe that we were created to join ourselves with others for that “safety in numbers” concept – where we have people that truly care for us and are there for support and love when we need them. This will require being open enough that your relationships are more than just casual, surface friendships. It is healthy to have people that we can share the good, the bad and the ugly with and know that they will still love and accept us.
Even when we have life partners, family members and friends that we feel comfortable with, we are still going to have disagreements that have to be worked through. But there is nothing wrong with that – it makes us better and stronger in the long run. “A friendly discussion is as stimulating as the sparks that fly when iron strikes iron.” (Proverbs 27:17 TLB)
When we develop relationships with people that we admire we should strive to spend quality time with them. When we do that, subconsciously we will tend to develop some of their same ideas and attitudes and vice-versa. “We become what we behold…Be intentional about what you behold – or rather whom you behold.” (Source: Chris Tiegreen)
That intentional idea is why I believe it is so important for us to spend time reading the Bible. When I spend time reading God’s Word, I learn more about Him and the goodness of His being. Jesus walked on this earth as the only perfect human – ever. I know that no matter how hard I try I could never totally emulate Jesus’ perfection; but, I can learn and work toward all that was right about Him. But in order to do that I need to “behold Him”. Since He no longer walks physically on this earth, my connection to Him is the Word that is written about Him. The time I spend daily reading the Bible, studying it and praying is what gives me peace and comfort and a stronger faith to face any life challenges.
If you do not have a regular time devoted to read your Bible and pray, work toward that goal. Then make certain that the people you spend the most time with are a good flock.
Written by Karran Martin – May 7, 2021