When I go to sports' events I usually find a job to do. I run shot clocks, keep stats, or do the book. (Sometimes I even coach) Really just anything to keep me busy. I have a hard time sitting in the stands and hearing all of the things that go on. There's yelling, swearing, grumbling, and a little cheering. I hear it all (teacher ears) and it takes away my enjoyment of watching what the kids are doing on the court or field. Amy tells me to just ignore it, but try as I may, I just CAN'T. Most times it makes me grumpy, but at others I get sucked in.
I have to watch myself because it's not just at sporting events where I can be tempted to join in with things I do not want to do. It can happen as I watch what I watch, work where I work, and, in truth, anywhere I am around other human beings. They influence me. I influence them. Hopefully for the better.
David was a general and a king who was surrounded by advisors and followers, and they did not always have the best interests of God in mind. David's men told him to kill King Saul when he had him in his grasp. David's general committed murder to avenge a brother. David had to hold to his integrity in the midst of coups and treachery. He didn't always do the best, but in Psalm 26 he gives us an insight to staying innocent.
"I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor consort with the hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds."
David knew that he needed to surround himself with the Godly. He knew that to "consort" with those who were "hypocrites" (saying one thing and living another) would drag him away from God. That word "consort" means to spend much time with or go to them for help and advice. David knew that his time should be spent with those who helped him be a great leader, one who led the people to follow God. That is who he spent the bulk of his time with and with whom he surrounded himself. And yet David still found that he had times where he fell short and had to "wash his hands." He had to go to God for forgiveness as he himself was the one who had played the hypocrite or was the wicked one.
We are the same way today. God wants us to surround ourselves with those who encourage us to follow Him in faith. We are to reach out to those who need to hear, but we cannot spend all of our time there or we will be dragged away. As Paul says, "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals.'" (1 Corinthians 15:33)
So surround yourself with good company. Gather to yourself friends who encourage you. Consort with those who aren't afraid to point out your need for growth. They are the iron that sharpens iron, the wise who help you to become wise.