Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,Proverbs 13:20
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
This proverb recently leapt off the page at me. I came away with a slightly different application than you may expect, but I believe it is worthwhile.
I am considering this proverb in light of reading.
I am a compulsive and impulsive reader and book buyer. I move from one book to another and another, often not completing the book I started before. My wife purchased an e-reader for me on our tenth anniversary. It was a wonderful gift for me, and it may have been a risky venture for her. My impatience and impulse coupled with the immediate availability of e-books can be a disastrous duo if left untethered.
Proverbs 13:20 has given me pause about the books and types of books that I read. A lot of my “walking” in this life is with authors that I will not personally meet in this life. Some are dead. Some live far away and have a status which makes the crossing of our paths very unlikely. Yet, I walk with them through their words on the page or screen. I soak in their meditations and am often placed at a crossroads of decision in regard to my agreement with their view.
Of course no one should ever take an author’s opinion as their own just because they admire the author. The only author we should unquestionably agree with and submit to is the Author, our Triune God. However, every page we read and meditate on in a book is impacting us. Our thinking is being shaped by the words we read. The thoughts of these writers are not only written on pages but are being etched on our minds and hearts as we read.
Proverbs 13:20 has forced me to ask myself the question: “Am I walking with the wise? Are these writers wise men and women?” If I walk with the wise, the words that they are writing on my heart and mind will aid in my growth in wisdom. If I make myself a companion of fools through immersing my mind in foolish writing, then I will suffer harm.