Monday, December 14, 2015

Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV).

Appearance of EvilHow many saints have quoted that passage to condemn someone for doing something which they considered “an appearance of evil”?  Remember when mowing the lawn on Sunday was condemned because it was supposedly on “the Sabbath day”?  This passage was usually quoted.  Some folks are so bent on making something evil that they refuse to see that their made up rule is the problem!  This is what the Pharisees did when they saw the apostles plucking grain on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-8).

Something may appear to be a sin to one person, but not to another.  One may believe that one day is holy and another doesn’t (Romans 14:5-6a NIV).  In 1978, a preacher told his audience that it was a sin for women to work outside the home.  On Monday, his secretary resigned.  Surprised, he asked why.  She reminded him of what he had preached.  His answer was, “Oh, that doesn’t apply to school teachers, nurses, and church secretaries”!  My first thought was, “Where is his book, chapter, and verse”?  Isn’t speaking where the Bible doesn’t, his problem (1 Peter 4:11)?

There was a time when we sat down each Sunday for our noon meal and the phone would ring.  I knew who it was.  The member was calling to inform me about some error I had introduced from the pulpit.  The problem was not mine, but what the individual thought I had said.  Actually, I was saying what we both believed, just expressing it in different words.  Several years ago a preacher told several others about a false doctrine an acquaintance was preaching.  One listener objected stating, “He told me he doesn’t believe nor teach that.”  The preacher’s response was, “I know what he believes better than he does!  It is not what he says that is wrong, but what one can read between the lines!”  Sir Walter Scott’s statement described us so well, “Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

That short statement by Paul has been misapplied by all at some time or another.  I too am guilty.  The childhood song with the words, “Be careful little tongue what you say, for the Father up above is looking down in love,” should be heeded by us all.  The world would be a much better place is we would learn to express as much grace toward one another as our Heavenly Father showers upon us!

Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV).