I want to pick up where we left off before the holidays as we continue to dig in to Psalm 15. We had worked our way up to verse 4 where David writes that the one who honors God is he...
4 who despises a vile man NIV
At first glance, this might appear to be a harsh statement, maybe even contradictory to the merciful person described to this point in the passage. You might think, "Okay, I'm not supposed to slander anyone, do my neighbor any wrong or cast a slur on him. Now, David is telling me to despise someone?!" Actually, this is right in character with the overall picture of the Bible. It's a picture that we don't cast accurately in the American church.
Let me explain what I mean. The Bible says quite frequently that we are to abstain from the things that are evil. We are to despise what the evil people do.
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11 NIV
Five different times in the New Testament, we are told to have nothing to do with the evil desires or the people who entertain them. God called us to be holy people. The word literally means "to be set apart for use by a Divine purpose" As followers of Christ, you and I are to be "set apart" from the things of this world. The reason that we don't talk about this attitude much in the church today is would require us to give up some of the compromises we have made with our culture. To despise the vile man would mean fewer consumer products, fewer entertainment options, fewer rights as citizens and even some down right hardship. Not a popular idea I would dare say.
To truly despise what is vile (not only the man but his actions) would cause us to really be separate from much of what gives us comfort--our friends, our behaviors, our hobbies, even our careers to some degree.
God deserves and expects more. Make no mistake about it, when Jesus told his listeners that those who followed Him would have to "die daily," he wasn't talking about a namby-pamby (good word, huh?), sissified, easy belief system that would give us social status and increase our self-esteem. He was calling for people who were willing to live in daily warfare, without compromise. There is still grace and mercy enough for every man and for every sin but, for those who refuse to turn their back on the sinful nature and embrace God, the Father asks us to come out and be separate from the darkness that engulfs their lives.