The following was written by Rene Dugan, a full time Staff member at Spirit & Truth Fellowship International

Some women look amazing with bangs. My mom is one of them. For as long as I can remember, she’s made it a point to get them trimmed every six weeks or so—even if it means taking the kitchen scissors to her wayward locks in between salon visits. But ask any woman who’s had bangs in her lifetime, and she’ll probably tell you…they’re a pain to style. Unless you want to run around rocking the sheepdog look 24/7, you’d better get used to spending a good amount of time every morning taming those little wisps.

My mom’s no exception, but she’s a problem-solver. Years ago, she discovered that the best way to keep her bangs out of her eyes was with the convenient use of sunglasses. Wielded like a plastic headband, she keeps them on top of her head, scrunching her bangs down until she needs to drive in the sunlight. A perfect solution, really—but over time we realized the divot of the glasses was actually leaving a groove on the top of my mom’s head! Now whenever she goes for a while without the glasses perched on her head, the groove eventually goes away. But we found it hilarious—and amazing—how something as insignificant as a lightweight pair of sunglasses on the top of her head could actually change the shape of the skull beneath.

Human beings are all made up of flesh and bone, and like the top of a person’s head, we mold to our environment. This shift sometimes happens gradually, like it did with my mom’s head…but inevitably, it does happen. That’s why God impresses on us over and over in His Word the imperative that we carefully choose the company we keep and the things we let into our environment. These things shape us over time, sometimes so slowly we don’t notice that instead of shaping up, we’re becoming misshapen.

The impressionable nature of humanity means that we imbibe a great deal of what surrounds us. If you’ve ever spent a number of days with one person, you might notice that your speech, language, laughter, and even body movements begin to mirror theirs! Or if you marathon a TV show, or watch the same movie over and over again, you might start to reflect the mannerisms of certain characters, even subconsciously. This is simply a result of the human penchant to craft ourselves after our environment—scientists might call it “herd mentality”. God points out the depth of this tendency when He says that bad company corrupts good morals.

The truth is, no matter how stalwart, independent, and self-realized we think we are, we all mold to fit our environment over time. That’s an important principle to keep in mind, because it’s up to each of us as individuals to ensure that what we take in is edifying, true, virtuous, and uplifting; that the people we choose to surround ourselves with reflect righteous qualities, not the moral fiber lauded by the world; and that when we start to see ourselves shift, we are checking to make absolutely certain it’s a godly change, and not one molding us from light to darkness.

When all is said and done, it could be summed up this way: if we’re going to mold to fit our environment, we had better make sure the environment isn’t moldy.

(I suppose I’m a case study. Can you guess if I grew up in an environment full of bad jokes?)