Luke 23 – Bad Company

 

“If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.”

That was the motto which was embroidered on the living room sofa pillow of the late A
lice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt. Alice was so recognized as the social butterfly of Washington that she was often referred to as “The other Washington Monument”. Although known for her tendency to be a gossip, she was one of the most liked people in politics; how does that make any sense at all?

In a study done in 2006 by Jennifer Bosson, a South Florida University grad student, Jennifer conducted a survey that polled students about their most liked and most disliked professors. They were then handed the questionnaire of another student’s answers, some with the same likes, others with the same dislikes. What emerged was stunning; students with similar dislikes formed closer and faster bonds to one another over students with similar likes.

The study concluded that shared negativity formed closer bonds due to the fact someone else understood how the other person felt more deeply than did someone who shared a similar like simply because everyone expects to have similar positive likes and few share common dislikes.

In Luke chapter 23 we find where this study proved to be true in the lives of Herod and Pilate. Once enemies, their common dislike for Jesus formed an uncommon bond between them. Negative bonds have proven to never have positive results. One more modern example would be the negative bond formed between Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine shooters.

Rather than hearing the truth the Jesus was proclaiming to them, and more plainly to them than to anyone else He spoke with because Pilate flat out asked Jesus if He was “The King of the Jews” and Jesus answered very plainly (in modern vernacular) “You got that right”.

The reason Herod and Pilate formed a close bond is because they both feared the crowd more than they cared about the truth. And, they both had tremendous egos that didn’t like someone threatening their position.

It’s very tempting to follow our fears and dislikes, and find what appears to be close-knit friendships in that. However, allowing our judgments to be governed by our emotions only leads to bad decisions and bad friends.

Next time you find yourself forming a friendship through an agreeable disdain for something (or someone), ask yourself this question first: Is my attitude and my conduct honoring God? If not, correct it…and find yourself some new friends quickly. Paul put it best in his letter to the Corinthians when he said;Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”