In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul wrote: “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” This statement should be your guiding light when selecting your next roommates.
In the same way that your family influenced you growing up, the people you live with now will also change the way you speak, act and think. This is great news if you pick solid, Christian roommates who will help you to grow. Proverbs 27:17 says that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
However, the influence of your roommates can also corrupt your good character according to the verse from 1 Corinthians. Rather than being sharpened, you can be slowly whittled away. The worst part is, this happens slowly and gradually and you may not even realize you’re changing.
So how can you avoid bad company in your new roommates? Make sure you choose people that you are familiar with. People who you’ve had a chance to watch for a good year or so. This will ensure that you know the person you’re about to move in with. Spend some time with them in a variety of situations. Is there anything questionable about their beliefs or activities? Ask a couple people for advice as well. Some of your friends may have seen a different side of your potential roommate.
What if you’re not thinking of moving in with anyone you know? What if it has to be someone random? This is most likely the case if you’re moving into a dorm your first year of college. You’re really going to have to rely on God to provide you with someone who will be good company.
Either way, it may be good to have some up front conversations to lay down a framework for what your apartment/dorm will be like. You can let your roommate know, gently of course, that drugs and heavy drinking aren’t cool with you and that you’re not really into partying too much. Don’t come across as self-righteous and your roommate will understand.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve been thrown in with a roommates with bad character, find some support outside of your dorm. Join a church nearby or find an on-campus group to hang out with. A group that can sharpen you and give you advice and help. Through them, you might even have an opportunity to change your roommate into good company.
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik