Many years ago, there was this religious person in our family who used to shake her finger at us children, and quote this one particular verse. She said, “the Bible said, we are to shun, the very appearance of evil.” That was back in the day, when it seemed to me, like everything was a sin. It was many years later, before I realized, that is not what it said. It says, abstain from all appearance of evil. If it appeared evil, it likely was.
Sadly, this verse was used to shun people. Somehow, some of those who taught us, got crossed up with a different kind of idea. That, if people did not go along with everything we believed and preached, they were evil. And we were to shun them. As a child growing up in the church, I could not fully understand this. We weren’t to hang with or fellowship with anybody, who did not believe as we did. It was having fellowship, with darkness.
But, that was not what Jesus did, or practiced. That’s what was confusing to some of us little ones. He ate with publicans and sinners; went home to their houses, visited with tax collectors and sat down with those called, ill repute. And the religious folk of His time, tore Him up about it. I don’t know, the last few days, I keep remembering something the Lord said. That, He did not come to those, who had no need of a physician. He came to save, that which was lost; not to prop up those who felt themselves already well.
We shouldn’t eat in restaurants that sold alcohol; it was a rule. And there was this minister and wife, who took the camp meeting evangelist, to this wonderful seafood place, that did. Dear Lord, how they talked and put down on these people. It confused me, that these folk had some of the greatest, most successful and spiritual churches, in the entire fellowship. If a woman wore even a touch of make-up, she was to be shunned; because this was evil. And if a man had a moustache, he also was shunned. It may have been, that if you did not do exactly what the preacher said, it was evil.
Today, we really see true evil; some of the worst kind. A lot of people are evil, that don’t even look it. Abstain, means to keep oneself from doing, or engaging or partaking of something. How could it be, that people who do shun others even now , no longer abstain from the very same things today they once said was evil. Just because someone doesn’t totally agree with what we believe, does not make them evil; it never did. Perhaps, claiming to be holy and not acting like Christ, is what we should all, abstain from.
~ Robert Blackburn