“Do not be deceived, ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” —1 Corinthians 15:33
For Rikhil, this Bible verse epitomized most of his teenage years.
The Allure of Drink
Growing up, Rikhil was a humble and obedient son at home and at school. He exemplified good character and morals—until he fell into the wrong crowd. At the tender age of 12, Rikhil tasted one of the greatest vices the world offers: alcohol.
Day after day, night after night, Rikhil drank. His character soon deteriorated. Once an agreeable, dutiful son, Rikhil became a rebellious laggard. Rikhil’s parents, witnessing their son’s wild actions, despaired. Complaints from other villagers about Rikhil’s antics further spurred the distraught parents. They attempted to counsel their rebellious young son many times, but Rikhil refused to listen.
Dropping out of school at age 13, Rikhil left his parents’ home. He wouldn’t return home for five years.
Examples of Love
As time went on, this troubled young man’s story reached the ears of Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported pastor Amil Romir. He, along with some local believers, made the journey to Rikhil’s village. There they found the now 18–year–old. Pastor Romir approached the young man and spoke to him, not with reprimands or disgust as many others had, but with love and compassion.
“It is not good to drink alcohol at a very young age,” Pastor Romir encouraged. “This is the time for you to study well and achieve your dreams.”
Pastor Romir invited Rikhil to the local youth group, where others Rikhil’s age gathered for fellowship. Mingling with the church youths, the examples of godliness shown by Pastor Romir and being immersed in an atmosphere of love began to change Rikhil.
Transformed through God’s Love
Bit by bit, Rikhil’s heart began to transform. The grip the bottle had on him loosened. Rikhil eventually stopped drinking alcohol completely. His parents, while wary of their son’s newfound faith, rejoiced that he had returned to them, transformed.
“My childhood was horrible,” Rikhil said. “I spent my [younger] years of life in darkness, going around with bad friends and drinking alcohol. I left the school … and disobeyed my parents. But today, I feel peace in my heart, and I am happy to know the Lord Jesus. … My parents are also happy to see my changed life.”
Truly, bad company destroys good morals. But being surrounded by those who love the Lord can transform one’s heart, just like Rikhil experienced.