In the United States, I have noticed throughout the many presidential elections during my lifetime that conservative voters and liberal voters are both clustered into certain geographical areas. I used to wonder why the liberals moved to certain states or regions while the conservatives lived in other areas. The truth is this: geographical areas became liberal or conservative because of their associations. Likewise, the mind-set of community organizations and churches can influence the thinking of their communities.
Many decades ago, I was invited to a dinner party where I met several influential people. They were positive, polite Christians who became my friends. But there was something different about them that was unique from all my other friends. They each owned an airplane.
Although I always enjoyed traveling by air and watching the Blue Angels air show in Pensacola, Florida, I had never considered being a pilot and owning my own plane. But the continued association with my new friends, who were all pilots and owned their own private planes, caused the desire to build within me. It wasn't long until I had become a pilot with a beautiful plane (that I owned), sitting in a hangar (that I owned) at a local airport. Our associations with others throughout our lives truly affect our desires as well as our attitudes.
What does this have to do with hopelessness and regaining hope? If things have pulled you down, if you are battling depression or insecurity, if your heart is broken, if you feel like all is lost, or if you feel like you are in a pit with no way of escape, the last thing you need is a negative speaking friend who lacks character and integrity to agree with you. You must find friends who think a little brighter, see a little further, and have more hope for their own life than you have for your own. The emotional pull of others must be in an upward direction!
When I was younger, I loved playing table tennis. I wasn't the greatest, although I did receive the first-place trophy in a tournament in Puerto Rico. I remember someone asking me what the key was to developing my "ping-pong skills." Instinctively I said, "I never like to practice with someone that I can beat. I always practice with someone better than I am."
That principle applies to so many things in life. If you want to have hope, find someone who has some! The Bible explains it this way. If you want to find a friend, you must show yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24).