Why would you do such a thing? Answer: “We have thought it over and prayed about it for a long time. We have come to the conclusion that that is what would be best for our family. We feel like we would be better off living in a place where we, especially our kids, are isolated totally from what is going on in our country and in the world.”
Concerned Christian parents and grandparents give serious consideration to what they think is best for their family’s spiritual welfare. For that, they are to be commended.
Knowledgeable saints understand that God wants His people to be holy (1 Peter 1:15,16), to come out from among the unrighteous and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). As we live in the world, our Lord does not want us to imitate the world (Romans 12:2), love the world (1 John 2:15), or be buddy-buddy with the world (James 4:4).
Observing parents recognize that in our society today, there is “all filthiness and overflow of wickedness” (James 1:21). Ungodliness is practiced and promoted without shame, while efforts to live and teach a message of godliness often are belittled and opposed. If Christian families are fed up with what they have seen, we “get” it. We empathize with their frustrations and salute their convictions.
Sometimes members of God’s family are frustrated over the worldliness and apathy that they see in the Lord’s church. There is worldliness in the lives of some members, I will grant you that: worldly aspirations, worldly speech, worldly dress, and worldly conduct. It is disheartening, and it is destructive to the image of the church. If someone has grown weary in having to explain over and over to their own kids why certain others saints continue to flaunt their worldliness and seemingly go untaught and uncensored by the leaders of the church, we understand the frustration which some are facing.
We wonder, though, if total isolation from everything and everybody truly is the wisest approach. To that end, we propose some questions for thought.
Is it wrong to get away from the “rat race” of life? No. In one instance, when the apostles returned to Jesus after they had been out preaching, the Master told them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). How long one should remain in a deserted place would be a matter of personal judgment.
Is it wrong to spend time on a mountain with no other humans around? No. Moses did it. Jesus did so on occasion, too. How much time is too long? Who can say? The Israelites spent almost one year at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1; Numbers 10:11,12), and we would say that they were isolated while they were there.
Is it wrong to live a life that is vastly different from the way that others live? John the Baptizer did. He spent a bunch of time in the wilderness, and his attire and diet were unique (Matthew 3:1,4).
Once a person lives in an isolated location, is it still possible for him to have evil thoughts? Sure. Even with no others around, one could have a heart filled with hatred, bitterness, envy, or lust. So, being on a mountain is not a total safeguard against all sin.
Is it possible for a person to use inappropriate words when other people are not around? Yes. If a family lives in isolation from everyone else in the world, is that a guarantee that the members of it will live peaceably among themselves? Not at all.
If a person or family lives in isolation from all other people, is that a guarantee that they will maintain their faith and commitment to the Lord unto the end of their days on earth? No, sir. While there may be some plusses in moving to the top of a mountain and getting away from the rest of the world, simply being in that location cannot guarantee that a person will make proper choices. A person’s heart would still be the key, correct? (Proverbs 4:23).
What about the things that a Christian ought to be doing? Not simply refraining from practicing evil, but actually doing something . . . like doing good to others? (Galatians 6:10). What about being the salt of the earth and light of the world, letting our light shine before others? (Matthew 5:13-16). How could we set forth an attractive “pattern of good works” (Titus 2:7) if no one ever saw our lifestyle?
What above evangelism? “Well, we would teach our kids.” Great. Whom else? “What do you mean?” Our Lord’s charge is to carry the gospel to every person under heaven. While it is true that you and I, as two individuals, cannot possibly go to every place on the planet with the gospel, we can put forth more of an effort than just teaching our offspring. Evangelistic-minded saints and permanent separation from the rest of mankind are two ideas that just do not go together.
God calls on Christians to comfort one another, edify one another, uphold the weak (1 Thessalonians 5:11,14), serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13), and restore brethren who have been overtaken in a trespass (Galatians 6:1) Such instructions require interaction with those whom we are trying to assist.
The darkness of the world is real. Let us strive to “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15) and “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
— Roger D. Campbell