The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Moving to a new city and starting over meant having to build a new community around him as well. He thought the best approach would be to find those with influence there who could help get him established. His motivations were not purely selfish as he desired genuine relationships with others in that place, but he certainly went about those relationships with a focus on what he could gain from certain connections. In seeking out those with social and professional favor that could benefit him, he failed to realize what else might come from those relationships. Their influence and his desire to be one of the hotshots would lead to years of addiction he never anticipated.
We hear that we should be selfless in personal relationships, focused on what we can bring to others instead of what we might gain from them. Although it is true that we should not enter relationships for the sake of what we can take from them, we always need to consider whether the people close to us influence us for good or evil. It would be foolish of us to make friends with the world without considering the impact of the world’s influence. It does not want us to remain loyal to the Lord. That is why we are in the world but not of the world. Those who pursue righteousness will gravitate toward the righteous. While we certainly have the job of reaching the world for God’s purposes, but we must be careful of the world’s reach toward us.
We have a responsibility to evangelize, and it can be difficult to see when we have crossed the line in our relationships with those who are not God’s people. The key is understanding that our personal relationships should help cultivate and nurture our relationship with the Lord. Those who have influence in our lives should be those who encourage us to move closer to him. Those we allow to give us counsel should be those whose counsel comes by way of their relationship with him, too. We must be wise about whom we allow to hold the position of “friend” in our lives. Father, continue to develop our wisdom in personal relationships so that we would draw close to those who help us draw close to You.