Stay away from every kind of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:22
Are you keeping your distance?
Social distancing. The bad things can’t travel more than a few feet, and if we keep far enough away from other people, we will stay safe. So we take extra steps to walk around someone if we are out, or we don’t go out at all. This doesn’t mean we think other people are evil or dangerous, but they might inadvertently be carrying something that could do us harm. That is what we are trying to avoid.
Jesus told us to stay away from evil. Some people have turned this into a way of condemning or marginalizing others. But the fact is all of us carry around evil—it’s called sin. Jesus doesn’t want us to “social distance” ourselves from sinners, since that is what we all are. Rather, He wants us to distance ourselves from sin.
Keeping away from evil means that we call upon the power of the Holy Spirit and the freedom of God’s forgiveness through Jesus to be changed. We are changed from sinners, into forgiven sinners who are now part of God’s family. Our love for Him, as a response to His love and grace to us, gives us the desire to please Him.
We stay away from evil so that we are not tempted to do things that will displease our Father. Yes, we often fail and have to ask for forgiveness, but what has changed is our desires. No longer do we look for evil, even going out of our way to find it. Instead, through the help of the Holy Spirit within us, we stay away.