I'm not a big fan of Lindsey Lohan movies (except for the Parent Trap remakes when she was young). Even though most of them are Disney "family friendly" movies, they tend to get on my nerves and my daughter tends to have an attitude after watching them. There is one movie I simply won't let her watch, even though the "moral" of the movie is pretty good, simply because she ends up acting very badly after watching it: Mean Girls. If you've seen the movie, Lohan plays a new girl in a new school who only seems to fit in with the unpopular crowd. However, when she gets a chance to hang out with the popular girls, her unpopular friends tell her to take it so that she can sabotage them. But their plan backfires because Lohan's character ends up acting just like one of the popular, mean girls. Lohan's friends end up not liking her, the mean girls end up not liking her, and she ends up having to figure out how she became what she hated.
The movie, as annoying as it is, does demonstrate a powerful lesson from scripture. Proverbs 13:20 reads, "The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm" (HCSB). Even though Lohan's character only hung out with the popular mean girls in order to sabotage them, by intentionally hanging out with them, and by "pretending" to be like them, Lohan really did become one of them. We are all familiar with this lesson and we all have stories about how a particular friend fell in with the "wrong crowd" and ended up doing very dumb things and ran into trouble because of it. But how often do we take advantage of this lesson in a positive way like this verse suggests: "The one who walks with the wise will become wise."
John Maxwell, an influential writer on the issue of leadership, repeatedly writes that people who want to be good leaders should surround themselves with good leaders. He reminds his readers that hanging out with leaders allows them to not only learn how to be good leaders but to begin picking up the habits that good leaders have developed. He takes the lesson of Proverbs 13:20 and applies it in a positive way; if you want to be a good leader, hang out with good leaders; if you want to be a good pastor, hang out with good pastors; if you want to be a godly person, hang out with godly people. Whatever kind of person you want to be, hang out with those kinds of people. Be intentional not only about who influences you but about who influences you subconsciously.
Now, this is not to say that we cannot be around sinners. If we were to only ever be around godly people who are good leaders and no one else, we would have a hard time making much of a difference in the world. Jesus gave us an example to follow of making sure that we spend time with sinners and "rejects." But Jesus also surrounded himself with a group of men who wanted to see God's kingdom come on earth and were passionate enough about it to leave behind their daily lives in order to see it happen. We can and must come into regular contact with people that we hope to influence and into God's kingdom, but we can also be intentional about spending more time with the kinds of people that we want to emulate. We can choose to allow those people a greater influence than they already have.
If you know what kind of person you want to be, then find those kind of people and hang out with them. Let them rub off on you. After all, The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.