As a Christian we find ourselves in a daily battle to respond to every situation in a Christ like manner. A tough ask and often we get this all wrong. When it goes wrong we then find ourselves having to put things right, in a Christ like manner.
This is all about our public witness.
1 Thessalonians chapter 5 v 22 says “Abstain from every form of evil”.
To set the right example—to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world—we must take care of one particular area. Paul mentions it here: “Abstain from every form of evil.” Or put another way “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
“Abstain” (Gk. apéchesthe) literally means “to hold oneself off” or “to keep oneself from.” A common example for this word is “refrain.” When we abstain or refrain from doing something, we exercise restraint and self-control. We look at the situation with a sound mind, soberly, to ensure that we “do the right thing.”
“Evil” is a translation of the Greek word poneros, used some 75 times in the New Testament, mostly as “evil” or “wickedness.” This kind of evil is both the act itself as well as the corrupting effect it has on others. It is a broad term that includes many forms .
There are things, also, where, whatever may be our motive, we may be certain that our conduct will be regarded as improper. A great variety of subjects, such as those relating to dress, amusements, . . . and various practices in the transaction of business, come under this general idea; which, though they cannot be proved to be in themselves positively wrong or forbidden, have the “appearance” of evil, and will be so interpreted by others.
I recently completely miss understood a member of my family, took action that I thought they wanted based on my misunderstanding and am now seen as a terrible person by my family who are finding it necessary to write to me “telling me off” and saying how sad they are about how I have behaved in a way quite out of character. All I was doing was following what I thought was the path I was supposed to but it went wrong and gave the appearance of evil! I am now finding refraining from jumping to my own defence almost impossible but I know I must or I will simply make matters worse. So to use a modern phrase I am “taking it on the chin”.
The safe and proper rule is to lean always to the side of virtue. In these instances you may be certain that there will be no sin committed by abstaining; there may be by doing.
Because we represent God, any appearance of evil presents a wrong picture of who God is and what He is doing. How we conduct ourselves before the world at work and play—and among our family in the church—is vitally important.
Have a great week