I avoid people that are not compatible with my way of life, if I can help it. I can’t avoid the world because to do so would mean I’d have to go live in a cave or something. What I try to do is not to allow myself become too engrossed in it. In this way I follow the example of St.Paul.
When I wrote in my letter to you not to associate with people living immoral lives, I was not meaning to include all the people in the world who are sexually immoral, any more than I meant to include all usurers and swindlers or idol worshipers. To do that, you would have to withdraw from the world altogether. What I wrote was that you should not associate with a brother Christian who is leading an immoral life, or is a usurer, or idolatrous, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or is dishonest; you should not even eat a meal with people like that.1 Corinthians:5:9-12
those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it.1 Corinthians:7:31
Many people object using Christs example that he sat down, ate and drank with sinners. This is true, however he didn’t hang around for long. Other than his disciples who followed him, he didn’t consider anyone else his friends. His friends were those who followed him and were obedient to the will of God.
You are my friends, if you do what I command youJohn:15:14
Furthermore, Jesus would set the balance by going off to a lonely place to pray and meeting with the sinners. He set an example of how we should meet with, and love the world, but he didn’t set an example of how we should sit down with bad company and make them our friends. Both the old and new testament give us plenty of information regarding friendships, but I will limit it as I don’t wish to punish you with too much reading.
”’Bad friends ruin the noblest people'”1 Corinthians 15:33
And The old testament advises us,
Make friends with no man who gives way to anger, make no hasty-tempered man a companion of yours, for fear you learn from his behaviour and in this risk the loss of your own life.Proverbs:22:24-25
Make the wise your companions and you grow wise yourself; make fools your friends and suffer for it.Proverbs:13:20
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.Proverbs:12:26
It is obvious that whilst we are called to love the sinner, sit and have a meal with them, we are not to form long lasting friendships. The scriptural quotes I have provided are proof that those of us who lie down with dogs will catch fleas. It’s a true saying and the Bible testifies to that.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your place in the story. You’re a sinner yourself, you’re not Jesus. You have weaknesses that need to be recognized and catered for. If the attachments in your life are hindering your relationship with Christ then you need to cut those people off. It doesn’t matter if they’re friends or family.
And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell. And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell.Matthew:5:29-30
(“Scandalize thee”: That is, if it be a stumblingblock, or occasion of sin to thee. By which we are taught to fly the immediate occasions of sin, though they be as dear to us, or as necessary as a hand or an eye.
Elsewhere in the Gospel Jesus advises us that nobody who doesn’t hate family or friends can truly be his disciple. The hatred here is understood to be the hatred for a relationship that becomes a stumbling block to Christ. The willingness to love them more to the point where we break Gods commandment in a desire to please them. We can’t do it in reverse. We cannot love the sinner first and then God. We can only love in truth when it’s Christ who receives our love and loyalty first and foremost.
This is the calling of Christ so don’t feel bad about not eating or dining with someone who will be a cause for your downfall. Don’t make friends with bad company under the pretence that you’re somehow converting them either. Believe me, you’re Christianity rarely rubs off on them. Remove them from your life and make new friends period.
New wine (the Gospel) requires fresh skins (new life with a different set of friends).
Enjoy saying no to Atheist Uncle Joe when he invites you over to dinner. Don’t feel guilty. . . I don’t