Leaners

Sunday, Oct. 25                                                                                                                   

“One never falls but on the side toward which one leans.”  Astute statement.  We’ve all seen newspaper pictures  of trees that have fallen across houses or cars.  That kind of bad news we’d like to avoid.  If it were a tree falling on my house, I would not only rue the damage to my house, but the damage to my reputation.  I can just hear people saying “Why didn’t he cut it down before it wrecked his house?  Of course I could blame it on the storm  or the heavy wind—if there was one.  This is a perfect analogy to our spiritual life.  I’m reminded of  1 Thes. 5:22 (KJV).  “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  Most modern English translations change this to “Avoid all kinds of evil” or something to that effect.  The Greek meaning includes appearance, shape, or fashion.  So while we should avoid all forms of evil, we also need to avoid putting ourselves in a compromising position.  There are two very good reasons for this.  One of them is well documented in Proverbs.  Hanging around evil and evil doers causes one to fall into sin.  Psalm 1:1 expresses this very well.  “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”  It is no accident that this verse is the first verse of the first Psalm.  The Jews of old deliberately put this Psalm as the pilot Psalm of the Psalter.  The teaching of this Psalm is of paramount importance.   Notice that this first verse has a downward progression—from walking, to standing to sitting.  That’s how Satan tries to manipulate us into sinning.  Casual interest leads to habitual association, which leads to joining the evil doers.  The second reason is that our reputation is at stake.  We might avoid the evil itself, but if we are “leaning” toward evil, it could be perceived as being involved in the evil.  That’s why pastors don’t counsel people, especially women, without others present.  That’s why we now have a lot of indoor windows in class rooms, offices, and churches.  A Christian’s reputation is vital to his ministry.  The taint of sin can destroy his ministry and bring reproach on Christ and the gospel message.  The point of this quotation is that if you are going to lean, make sure you lean in the right direction.  The “fall” can be disastrous.      

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