Your Turn!

Most of the time on this blog I sit here and talk and talk and talk, and you guys listen (sometimes, when you are being nice). Sometimes you even comment (in which case, as I have said before, you are awesome: most people don’t take the time to put the effort out)!

This time will be different.

This time it is your turn!

I want to know what you think on Abstaining from All Appearance of Evil. I will get you started, but I will mostly be wanting to interact with you in the comments.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Most of you probably agree with this verse. Even non-Christians generally do. But there is something that is commonly missed: who gets to define ‘evil.’ If you let the other person define evil, then you are really in a sticky position. Of course the logical and clearly Biblical answer is that God defines evil. But how does that make a difference?

I am asking you that question. Your turn!


12 Responses

  1. So, we’re supposed to comment here or email you our opinions?

  2. Yes, God’s Word in the Bible and the Holy Spirit acting as our conscience define evil. Romans 14:23 says anything not done in faith is a sin. If you look at the context of 1 Thessalonians 1, there is the idea of having virtue in what we say and do, and in chapter 5 of having the Spirit lead us as opposed to our flesh. 1 Thes. 5:20-21 says to test all things (I believe) according to the Spirit in our hearts for the grey areas and the Bible for all black and white areas.

    My brother asked me just yesterday how I know the Bible was written by God, because if Satan is the ultimate liar, than how do I know he didn’t write it to get me to worship a false god in Jesus. My answer, which I didn’t say because it is circular, is anything that denounces Jesus or any other prophet is evil. If we allow someone who denounces Good to define evil, what they say is evil because of their refutation of Good. This means even if my unsaved brother says “evil is someone being tyrannical,” for example, the difference is that I examine his statement against Scripture as opposed to how I just listen and obey when I read what Scripture says or the Spirit in me says is evil.

    Too many words for a simple answer?

    • Even Satan couldn’t write the Bible. And he wouldn’t want to write it anyways, haha.

      Nope, not too many words. Good answer! We ought always to trust God’s Word above everything else.

  3. I’m a little confused about what you are asking.
    Is the question;
    How would we define evil?
    Does how God define evil make a difference in how we view it?

    Clarity please,
    Thanks. 🙂

  4. Amen and amen, the verse is Scripture and should be obeyed.


    As you said, we must let God define evil. However, I would distinguish this from letting God’s people define evil. For example, some Christians think that wine should not be drunk, that smoking is something that should not be done. I used to think so as well, but I don’t now think that these things are inherently wrong.

    If I get drunk, that is sinful. If I drink a bottle of beer- that is not necessarily. Just because some may disapprove does not mean that I then should not do it.

    BUT- I should not be making my brother stumble. If I know he dislikes and disapproves of drinking, then why would I walk into his house with a 6-pack? Is my motive to make him angry?

    Now. What about appearances that are more malum-in-se? For example- what if I always wear black? We know that God is a God of light. Now, it’s not the black clothes that are evil- it’s the heart that manifests itself in a love of darkness.

    And here is where wisdom comes in. We must hunger to walk in God’s Ways.

    If I’m hanging out at bars… that reeks of bad things. If I go into the red-light-district to evangelize… well… they need evangelism, but I’d better at the very least be prayed-up, know that this is God’s desire, and have some good accountability…

    Anyway, hope there was some good stuff in there.

    • Yes, on top of the principle of avoiding the appearance of evil, we must also strive to take into account those who believe differently than us in the Christian faith. We might believe they are wrong, but we do not want to violate their conscience.

      The goal is to be different from the world, and when we go to places like that, it should be clear that we do not belong there, but that we are there on a mission.

  5. Okay… gotcha! 🙂

    Like Gabriel said, we must let God define what is evil. I also believe that we should ask the Lord to implant in us, by His grace, His hatred for evil and all that is wicked. As laserwords said, we ought to let Scripture be our ultimate authority in defining what is evil.

    If we allow the Word of God to define what is evil and, by His grace, acquire even a taste of God’s hatred for evil, this should be played out in dramatic ways in our lives. Everything in our lives should be affected by it – the thoughts we ponder, the literature we read, the sites we surf, the films we view – basically everything should that we feed on should be centered around God’s definition of evil and His definition of good.

    For example, I choose not to watch films that have an overt sexual/romance portrayed in a perverted light/violent agenda to them (I choose not to watch very many movies anyways, but that’s beside the point). Why? Because feeding upon such things clearly go against what the Lord commands us to think on (Philippians 4:8). Anything opposite of that would be evil to watch. Why would I purposely allow myself to feed upon things that clearly go against Scriptural teaching? For me to willingly put myself in front of images that obviously defy the authority of God’s Word (and I know that they do) would be sin for me (James 4:17).

    While that might seem to be radical thinking, I personally don’t think it is. When we taste God’s hatred for sin we will want to live a life that avoids evil in every way, shape, and form. Not so that we can look better than others, for that is the height of pride and vanity. Rather, we ourselves ought to desire to live holy and blameless lives, not participating in sin that we willingly commit.

    Haha, I know I hit a few rabbit trails in there, but hopefully it made sense! 😀

    • Actually, I do think it is radical thinking… but I don’t think that is a bad thing. We are commanded to be radical.

      Radical merely means that we are fundamentally different in the way we think or do things. We are overtly and dramatically radical, or should be.

      I can only encourage you in that passion! 😀

  6. I agree with Rebeka. I think that the only way for us to avoid becoming legalistic as we apply this verse to our lives is to let the Word and the Spirit not only define evil for us, but create in us a hatred for it so strong that our first response is to avoid it in every way, shape and form. Not just to avoid all that appears evil, but to avoid evil everywhere it appears, you know?

    • “Not just to avoid all that appears evil, but to avoid evil everywhere it appears, you know?”

      I know. That is a really good way of putting it actually. It really severs the line between Pharisaical self-righteous legalism, and Godly zeal and passion.

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