Angela Mary Griffin: The company you keep


“A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” (Proverbs 27:19)

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In youth, quantity becomes the order of the day with regards to friendships. Rather than focusing on the quality of the content of an individual’s character, most children flock to those blessed with charm and good looks. It’s sad for the charmers too, of course. Somewhere along the way they learned that they were not good enough though they are perfect creations of God, so they learned to be inauthentic. Others learned that they were not good enough as they were so they let themselves be charmed. The beautiful always find the damned.

It’s difficult to find good friends that are true who will be honest with you as an individual. It's also difficult to receive honesty if you are damaged and ego-driven. It’s not difficult to be surrounded by false flatterers who will tell you what you like to hear about yourself and who will enable your poor behaviour when you are behaving badly, when you know at your core that what you’re doing is morally wrong. False friends are easy to come by and they aren’t worth the price of your self-respect. In Proverbs 24:26 it's written, “An honest answer is the sign of true friendship.” A true friend will be honest with you especially when the truth is painful to both deliver and receive.

When people suffering from addictions finally find the courage and the stamina to give up the addictive behaviour, it isn’t the actual substance that will lure them back to the destructive habit. It’s the challenge of finding new friends that will prove daunting. The company a man keeps not only speaks volumes about his character, but also shapes his life.

Do your friends slander you or others? Do they lie, cheat, and steal? How do they treat members of the opposite sex? If you are a man, do your male counterparts treat women with respect and dignity, or do they sexualize women and treat them as lesser beings and as sexual conquests? Do your friends gossip about one another, do you repeat that gossip? The right thing is to rise above the slander and preserve the feelings of the person who would be hurt by repeating the wicked words uttered against them.

It’s difficult to not just be open to anyone in friendship, but also remember that in choosing carefully your friends you are choosing the sort of person you will become. The more selective choice is to opt for a better kind of friend. It will mean that you will have fewer friends and that will make for a shorter Christmas card list, but at the end of the day you’ll know that the names on your list will be friends worth keeping and you yourself will be a person worth knowing. And that, my friend, will be something of which to be immensely proud.

The Peace is a place of many peoples and faiths. In this space, readers are invited to share their own reflections of faith in the Peace. If you have a story of faith you’d like to share, email

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If you’d like to contribute articles about faith in our community, please email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

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