The Company You Keep
When I’m around nonbelievers, I don’t expect them to behave like believers. I don’t hold them to the standards of Christians. But sometimes Christians will get really uptight around nonbelievers. They used a cuss word. They said something that is contrary to my faith.
I am not saying that we should condone everything that nonbelievers say or do. But I am saying that we should love them, be kind to them, and engage them as much as we can. We want to build a bridge to nonbelievers.
The apostle Paul told the believers at Corinth, "When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that" (1 Corinthians 5:9–10).
If we break off all communication with nonbelievers, then how will they ever become believers? So we do want to have relationships with people who don’t know the Lord. The goal is to win them to Christ.
But there are certain people whom the Bible says we are not to associate with. Paul said, "You are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people" (verse 11).
The apostle was talking about those who claim to be Christians but are engaged in sexual sin, are drunkards, or are involved in the other things that he mentioned. Paul was saying, "Don’t hang out with those people. In fact, don’t even have lunch with them." Why? Because they will drag you down spiritually.
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