Friday, November 15, 2013

Avoiding The Appearance of Evil

When I walked in to my first apartment at BYU I was a little shocked to find that the window sill was decorated with what appeared to be wine bottles.  They, of course, were not wine bottles;  they were bottles from non-alcoholic sparkling cider, but they looked like wine bottles and I believe wine cups sat along side of them.  The honor code at BYU, which every student agrees to keep before attending the college, has each student commit to standards of honesty, chastity, and dress.  It includes agreeing to abstain from alcoholic beverages, and other addictive substances. 

The honor code was being followed by my roommates.  Still, it is possible that somebody who knew the honor code could look at the window, and wonder.  At home I was taught that we should avoid the appearance of evil (and doing something you have promised not to do would be wrong) and so the decoration bothered me.  I do not think my roommates were bad for having decorated in that way.  They had probably celebrated something with each bottle, and it was more of a happy memory.  But eventually, we changed what was in the window.

My thought is simply this.  It is good to think about how other people might view something before we do it, and it is most important to ask ourselves if what we do will be a witness for the Lord that we are trying to serve.  If we do this, we will be able to "abstain from all appearance of evil" as the apostle Paul counseled.  (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

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