Garry spoke this morning from Rom 12:9-21, particularly focussing on Rom 12:9 (‘hate what is evil; cling to what is good’.) It’s easy enough to hate the evil we see around us, but it’s much harder to confront the evil within our own hearts. Jesus reminded us of this using vivid language in Matt 7:1-5. So often, we see faults and failings in others, but do not confront our own sinful tendencies. God wants us to purify or cleanse ourselves from everything that is evil (2 Cor 7:1) and to pursue righteousness (see 2 Tim 2:19-22). This involves turning away or withdrawing from sinful practices and fleeing from everything which would ensnare us (we are to ‘flee the evil desires of youth’ as Joseph did when faced with the temptations offered by Potiphar’s wife.)
One of Satan’s tactics is to make sin seem less offensive to us, so that we tolerate much more than God would have us do. We can easily adopt the ‘Adam and Eve’ syndrome of plausible deniability when confronted by our wrongdoing; it took Nathan’s prophetic courage to make David aware of his sinful behaviour with Bathsheba, Uriah and Joab. God does not confront us to condemn us, but to set things right; David responded in repentance and later prayed that God would search him, know his heart and lead him in everlasting ways (Ps 139:22-23) God knows everything and His Spirit searches our hearts (Rom 8:27, 1 Chron 28:9) Only as we truly learn to hate the sin in our own lives can we hate the evil around us.
God calls us to be salt and light in our communities, exposing evil by our own good actions. We need to stand against evil and injustice and learn to cling to what is good, like a limpet. A limpet cannot be easily separated from the thing to which it attaches itself and we need to stick to what is good with the same kind of grip and tenacity.