Proximity, No Short-Cut
Warren E. Berkley
The case of Judas and Peter (see Matthew 26 & 27) establish something worthy of our thought. Proximity (or association) is not a short-cut to individual righteousness. Both Judas and Peter walked and talked with Jesus in person. Physically, they were near him. They heard Him speak, watched Him live and respond to events and people. Yet that proximity did not keep them from wrong choices. Proximity or association with good people is highly recommended, but should not be viewed as a short-cut to individual righteousness. Though you have good, pure companions – you must still learn what is right, make choices and shun evil. You must develop your own character.
People seem to have this idea: If I could just see Jesus in person and be with Him, I would be fine! Another level of the same kind of thinking is: If I could just get my kids involved with other young people who are good examples, everything would work out. Apparently, we just tend to think that proximity has greater power than it has.
Certainly it matters who you associate it with (see Psalms 1 and Proverbs 1). No doubt, there is a benefit in both learning and influence when we are close to good people. But ultimately, you must accept those influences, learn the lessons, make choices yourself and persevere in what is right! [Read Matt. 26:31-56 and note: “…the sheep of the flock will be scattered,” and “Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”]
Get involved with good people. But don’t take that as a short-cut to personal righteousness. Doesn’t work that way.