We live in an era when many cry out for tolerance. They portray themselves as folks who will tolerate everything and everyone. There usually is an exception to their mindset. You know that, correct? In many cases, such people will tolerate almost all others, but they will not tolerate people who in any way oppose their lifestyle or erroneous teaching.
In contrast to the common notion that “anything goes,’ the Bible says, “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). From those two brief charges, there are numerous lessons for us to learn.
First of all, the God of heaven calls on us to distinguish between good and evil. There are things which the Lord identifies as “good.” There also are matters that He labels as “evil.” Know this: in God’s sight, good is not evil, and evil is not good. Jehovah declared, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness . . .” (Isaiah 5:20). These are serious matters!
A number of humans approach life with an air of self-dependence. They are convinced that they have the wisdom to determine on their own what is right and what is wrong, which behavior is acceptable and which is not appropriate. It is a totally humanistic approach. Herein lies the problem with such a mentality: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Man’s intellect, by itself, is not sufficient to determine what constitutes proper behavior. When everyone in Israel did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25), it was an age of spiritual disaster and darkness in the land.
The Lord God has His own standard for what is good. As the Israelites were preparing to enter into the land of Canaan, God through Moses reminded them, “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you . . .” (Deuteronomy 6:18). It is a simple concept, but one which often gets ignored or neglected. If God says, “It is good,” then that is just what it is. The converse also is true: if God calls something “evil,” then evil it is. God sent King Saul to destroy the Amalekites.
Samuel’s plea to Saul was, “Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD” (1 Samuel 15:1). Doing so would have been “good” in the eyes of the Lord. Instead, Saul chose not to obey all that the Lord instructed him to do. Here is a portion of what Samuel said to rebuke the king: “Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?” (1 Samuel 15:19). Why was Saul’s action counted as “doing evil” before God? Answer: He failed to obey God’s voice/word. The bottom line is, when a person complies with what God says, that is good. When he fails to submit to God’s word, that is evil.
What does God call on Christians to do with evil? Abhor it (Romans 12:9). Our Lord hates iniquity (Hebrews 1:9), and we, too, should hate sinful choices (Jude 23). What else should we do with evil? Refrain our tongue from it, turn away from it (1 Peter 3:10,11), and expose it (Ephesians 5:11).
At the same time, God calls on all of His children to cling to what is good — not simply know what is good, and not simply acknowledge what is good. The charge is to cling/cleave to it, coming from the Greek word κολλάω/kollaō ,” which means “to glue, to glue together, cement, fasten together” [Thayer, word no. 2853 via e-Sword]. Our God wants us to stick to/be glued to what is good, hanging on for dear life. May God help us not to waver in our commitment to His way of righteousness.
As we strive to identify and cling to what is good, God expects us to love all people, including those who are ungodly and may even act as our personal enemies (Matthew 5:43,44). Like our heavenly Father, we long for lost people to turn from their evil, turn to the Lord, and live (Ezekiel 33:11). As Christians voice their opposition to immoral behavior and false religious messages, they sometimes are labeled as “unloving.” I tell you plainly, friend, it is not being hateful to tell people that we care about their eternal well-being and then point out to them how their conduct or doctrine violates God’s revealed word.
I do not hate those people who are in relationships which do not meet God’s approval, do you? I do not abhor homosexuals and adulterers, do you? I do not loathe liars and thieves, do you? I do not hate false religious messengers, do you? We abhor the evil committed and the damaging effects of teaching which is contrary to the doctrine of the Christ (2 John 9-11), but we have no animosity toward the violators of God’s will.
“Political correctness” is a joke – a bad joke. We should strive to be correct in God’s sight, not in the eyes of unstable, self-loving, self-exalting humans. Long before the new covenant was given to mankind, God’s appeal to Israel was, “Seek good and not evil . . . Hate evil, love good” (Amos 5:14,15). Think about it.
— Roger D. Campbell