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Friends were leading lad down the wrong track

Proverbially speaking: Philippa Smale takes a look at some of the Proverbs from the Bible

The sullen youth wasn't easy to cope with

A MOTHER dragged her 13-year-old son, David, along to a church youth club. He obviously didn’t want to be there, but his mother explained to the group leader why she had brought him. ‘He’s just got in with the wrong kind of friends,’ she said. ‘Well, so-called friends. They think it’s fun to go shoplifting. They’ve trashed the play area at the park. I’m pretty sure they’ve been joyriding. And I don’t want to think about whether they’ve been taking drugs. I thought that if he spent time with you, he might see that life doesn’t have to be like that. I’m afraid that if he doesn’t change, he’ll end up in prison.’

With a plea like that echoing in his ears, the leader felt he had to accept the sullen youth into the group. David wasn’t easy to cope with, and when he talked about his exploits there was a danger that he would be a bad influence on the other members.

But eventually there was a breakthrough.

The group helped out at a sports day for disabled children. David was assigned to help twelve-year-old Charlie, who had been a wheelchair-user since he was five. When Charlie won the 100m wheelchair race, David found himself close to crying.

The boy was so pleased and proud of his achievement.

It wasn’t an immediate conversion but, over a period of about six months, David began to realise that life didn’t have to be criminal to be fulfilling. He began to think about helping others and appreciating the good things in his life.

Thanks to his mother, David had been given the opportunity to meet people with positive values, and they changed how he felt and what he did.

Part of Jesus’ message was that following him meant change. People who met him found themselves becoming more loving, caring and understanding. And how they lived rubbed off on other people so that  they, too, changed.

That is why the Christian faith is still alive today – people let Jesus change them and then, realising that he could change others too, set out to help them.

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