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There was a story in the paper a while back about some dogs up in a New England town that had killed one hundred and twenty-three sheep in one night. That seems like a very strange thing for dogs to do. Dogs are supposed to protect sheep, and to keep other animals away that would hurt the flock. We could understand it if the sheep were slain by wolves or bears or other such animals killer dogs??

Were all the dogs bad? No, not at first. It seems that they had all been good, faithful watchdogs with the exception of one – he was a sheep-killer. Who do you think taught the other dogs the trick of killing sheep? That's right. It was this one sheep-killer. In other words, it was bad company that did the trick. The farmers shot every dog that had killed a sheep. They didn't ask if they were sorry or where they had got the habit. They didn't kill the ring leader and let the others off scot-free. They knew that once the dog had killed the sheep, he had to be destroyed.

There is an old proverb which says, "If you run with wolves, you'll learn to howl just like them." The Bible says, "Evil companions corrupt good morals. " The Living Bible Translation says, "If you listen to them, you will start acting like them." These sayings simply mean that you grow to be like the company you keep. If a dog runs with a sheep-killer, he will eventually become a sheep-killer. If a boy runs with boys who curse, then he will learn how to curse. If a girl runs with girls who are immoral, she will soon learn the ways of immorality.

It is really tough for you, as a young person, to see this now. You wonder why your parents will not let you play with certain ones in the neighborhood. They know the power of evil companions. They want you to be the best that you can be. They know how easily life can be spoiled. People grow to look alike, think alike, and act alike when they spend more and more time with each other. If you don't want to be like the boy or girl you run with – don't run with them. If you don't want to be a "sheep-killer", then stay away from sheep-killers.

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward