Proverbs 12:26 declares: “The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” This verse speaks of the infuence that one has on those around him. Those who righteous “guide” their neighbors (implied is that this guiding is in a good and healthy direction). But those who are wicked “lead them astray” — they influence them in an ungodly direction.

This verse should cause each of us to evaluate what kind of influence we are on those around us. How are we encouraging (or discouraging) our family members? What kind of spiritual influence are we on our fellow church members? What kind of impact are you having on your neighbors? (even if you don’t have any interaction with your neighbors, that alone influences them: it demonstrates that you don’t care!)  By your actions, words, care or indifference, are you “guiding” those around you, or leading them astray?

Perhaps you have not really consciously considered that you are an influence on people around you? If so, it should be of interest to you that this verse teaches that BOTH the righteous and the wicked DO influence their neighbors: the righteous guides them; the wicked leads them astray.  So you ARE having an impact on those around you. The only question is: which kind of influence are you?  

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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