‘Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.’
The much broader application of this truth, which is borne out in many passages of scripture is that association with evil doers tends to corrupt us. Some people ridicule this, thinking that if one is really strong, association with evil can’t hurt. Paul said you are deceived if you think that.
There is no doubt that all of us encounter evil, and the Lord did not Himself, nor advocate His followers to pursue the life of a monk. We are the salt of the earth and we need to get out of the shaker to do any good. But our contact with the world has to be controlled. We need to be the ones doing the ministering, not the other way around.
Association with people who are doing evil is all right if we are ministering to them. But exposing ourselves to the talk and ways of the ungodly is a great mistake that has corrupted many good-intentioned people. Evil lifestyles tend to corrupt good lifestyles.
Some may ask why that is. It seems like the evil should be more influenced by the good. Well, just as disease is contagious rather than health, and fat comes easier than muscle, so evil seems to be easier to obtain than good. We need to deal with this reality and not allow ourselves to be influenced by evil.
Lot is an Old Testament example of a righteous man who was corrupted through his association with the ungodly (Read: 2nd Peter. 2:7 – 9; and Genesis. 19).”Evil communications” does not just mean extremely bad talking and “good manners” are more than just style.
Life and death are not only in the power of our tongue but everyone else’s, also (See Proverbs. 18:21). We need to be careful of the things we hear and the things we see because they do influence our morals.
So Paul is saying that association with evil will corrupt our morals because our morals are a reflection of the associations we keep. No one can continually associate with evil without it corrupting their morals.
This doesn’t mean we have to withdraw totally from the world, but we do have to beware, we have to keep our focus – we need to keep our selves under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, always – perhaps that’s the only way we can continue living in this world as children of God. Romans 8:14 ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’.