I was reading Psalm 101 this morning, and it struck me halfway as the ‘standard’ Psalm. What should your standard be for your friends and yourself?
I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.
2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
George Washington had some of the best advice concerning friendship and the people you surround yourself with. While he had a wide range of acquaintances with whom he was polite, he had very few true, close friends. He once said, “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
According to Psalm 101, David did not associate with those who ….
• Spread rumors and malicious gossip
• Were arrogant and proud
Which means, looking at this list inverted, his requirements for companions were that they
• Were righteous. They enjoyed the things of God and took no part in the evil ravaging the kingdom.
• They were kind to everyone, kept nasty opinions to themselves, and built others up rather than attacking them.
• They were humble and didn’t fancy themselves far above everyone else.
• They told the truth and acted out what they said.
I know I too often get so caught up in trying to figure out whether other people are worthy enough to associate with me, that I forget to consider whether I’m worthy to associate with them. Am I the sort of person David would have kept near him? Probably not. David messed up in more flamboyant ways than most of us ever will, but his heart was pure in the sight of God. We can think we’re good people, but looking at the list above, are we really? Do you ever lie, or feel like you’re better than someone else, or whisper “You know, I think so-and-so actually got that idea from a Youtube video. She didn’t come up with it herself.” (Seems like a little thing, yeah? See the phrase ‘whoso privily slandereth his neighbor’.) I don’t want to preach, because I need to realize this as much as anyone – I’m not perfect or complete without God’s forgiveness. I can’t be everything on David’s Requirement List without God’s help. So I have something new to include in my prayers – I pray that one day, I’ll be worthy to be a companion of David.
Maybe one day I’ll make the Requirement List.