Abhor That Which Is Evil
Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
- Romans 12:9
Today I want to talk to you about some of the detrimental things you have been tolerating in your personal life. First, let's look at the illustration of television as an example of what you must do to keep evil out of your life.
Our family rarely watches television or movies, but when we do, we are very careful about what we allow to be broadcast into our home. Denise and I know it is part of our God-given responsibility as parents to keep evil from gaining access, for God designed the home to be a godly sanctuary for the family. Because we don't want evil to affect our family, Denise and I carefully guard what is viewed on the television in our home. Some may say that our approach is narrow, but the apostle Paul clearly instructed all believers to "abhor that which is evil." (Romans 12:9).
The word "abhor" is the Greek word apostugeo, which is a compound of the words apo and stugeo. The word apo means away, and the word stugeo means to hate. It describes an intense dislike, an aversion, or a repugnance to something. When the words apo and stugeo are compounded together, the new word conveys the notion of a person who hates something so extremely that he literally backs away from it in disgust. Thus, the King James Version translates it as the word "abhor" to reflect the feelings of a person who is so repulsed by something that he shuns and avoids it at all costs. This means God expects your tolerance level for sin and evil to be very low. In fact, you should have such a repugnance for evil that you actively and continually guard against it from ever invading your life or your family.
But when we speak of evil, exactly what do we mean? Since Paul is the one who told us to "abhor that which is evil," let's look at this word "evil" in the Greek text to see what he was talking about.
The word "evil" is the word poneros, and it conveys the notion of anything that is full of destruction, disaster, harm, or danger. It includes not only that which is dangerous to the physical body, but also that which is dangerous to the spirit or mind. So Paul is urgently telling us that we should have no tolerance at all for anything that would endanger our bodies or that would do any kind of damage to our minds or spirits.
As human beings, we are usually careful to take care of ourselves physically. However, Paul is telling us that we need to take care of our spirits and minds just as diligently as we watch over the natural care of our human bodies. You see, if your spirit and mind are invaded by information or images that are evil, the entrance of those images into your mind and spirit can wreak havoc in your life for years to come. Your mind is like a movie screen - and what you allow into your mind lives in your imagination for a very long time.
So instead of watching, reading, or listening to a lot of evil garbage that will clog up your mind for years, why not take a safer and smarter route? In other words, don't allow that garbage to enter your mind in the first place!
What are you to do instead? Paul says you need to "cleave to that which is good." The word "cleave" is the Greek word kollao, which is the old Greek word that means to glue or to cement something together. This word denotes a permanent connection. It is the picture of two things that have been glued or cemented together, so tightly joined and bonded that they are now permanently connected and cannot be separated.
So when you take these Greek word meanings into consideration, Romans 12:9 could be interpreted to mean:
"You need to abhor and be disgusted with anything that would bring evil and harm to your physical, mental, or spiritual life. Instead of giving place to those destructive things, why don't you put your whole self forward to become more joined with that which is good and profitable for you?"
As you've read this Sparkling Gem today, has God's Spirit been speaking to you about the things you've been tolerating in your life for which you should have no tolerance? If the answer is yes, it's time for you to get into the Presence of God and ask Him to forgive you for permitting wrong influences in your life or home. Then make a concrete, firm decision to remove those wrong influences, and deliberately turn your attention toward the things that will bring you closer to the Lord.
There are so many good things you could be watching, reading, and listening to. So make the quality decision to shun all that is evil as you cleave to that which is good