Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
We need to be diligent about the influences we allow to come into our lives and ultimately our hearts! These influences are not just limited to such things as music, television, and social media. Even though we are to be filled with God's grace, at times we need to guard ourselves against the negative influences of other people. People's negative influences can zap our energy and even impair the manner in which we see ourselves. Belittling comments of friends disguised as jokes for example we need to guard against. Sometimes, we may even need to eliminate those people from our lives if these "jokes" occur long enough. As Christians, we are called to love everyone but not to fellowship with everyone! Paul admonished his son in the faith Timothy that "in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:1-5). There are some people that you must TURN AWAY from. If people that you have turned away from later repent after a period of time and you feel led by the Holy Spirit to re-establish fellowship that is another story. In 1 Corinthians 5:11, Paul again advises the church at Corinth not to keep company with certain people including slanderers. Turning away without bitterness from people who zap your strength or belittle you does not make you unkind, unloving, or ungracious but a person that is following the Lord's admonition to guard your heart above all else in order to experience peace and realize the high self worth you have in Christ!