“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” (I Corinthians 15:33, NASB)
. . . or the modern corollary to St. Paul’s maxim: “You can’t soar with eagles when you run with turkeys.”
Lest we think that what is referenced here is our associations (as in, “avoid troubled people because their troubles will rub-off on you”), that is not the case. Young’s Literal Translation of this verse reads: “Be not led astray; evil communications corrupt good manners.”
The J. B. Phillips Translation of this verse gives us even more clarity: “Don’t let yourselves be deceived. Talking about things that are not true is bound to be reflected in practical conduct.”
As disciples of Jesus, if God chooses to put us in dark places (as He may), it is because we are “the light of the world”; our job is to shine for Him! If God chooses to put us in places where the risk of moral decay is imminent (as He will), it is because we are “the salt of the earth”; our job is to be salty — and preserve! (Please see Matthew 5:13-16 for the complete text.)
Today, and everyday, may our personal ambition as “light and salt” be gracious manners in a coarse world; the purest intentions in a jaded and skeptical sphere; and utterances that are scrupulously true in a community where the “truth” is often an amalgam of reality, convenience, and veiled self-interest.
Do not be fooled! While words that are gracious, pure, and truthful bring hope, light, and life to others; when we allow gossip, innuendo, and lies to invade our communications with others, it is our own daily conduct, moral authority, and personal character that is corrupted — and we become the problem instead of the solution. – Luther