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Saturday, August 29, 2009


"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends."
~ Japanese Proverb

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 (GW):
In my letter to you I told you not to associate with people who continue to commit sexual sins. I didn't tell you that you could not have any contact with unbelievers who commit sexual sins, are greedy, are dishonest, or worship false gods. If that were the case, you would have to leave this world. Now, what I meant was that you should not associate with people who call themselves brothers or sisters in the Christian faith but live in sexual sin, are greedy, worship false gods, use abusive language, get drunk, or are dishonest. Don't [have fellowship] with such people.

Perhaps it seems ironic, but Paul instructs that while we may associate with immoral unbelievers, we should not maintain friendships with those who identify themselves as Christians yet behave otherwise.

It's a matter of how much influence they're positioned to have in our lives.

Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I don't have any close secular friends anymore. The tide has turned and you know what? I love the fact my Christian friends embrace the Lord so freely, I love to fellowship with those who are passionate for our God.

  2. Good points, well taken. What is interesting is that most of colleagues at work are believers (various faiths). I have no idea how that happened, but it is great. We have wonderful discussions -- and we can make decisions based on what God would have us do (and if we don't have any idea about that, we can pray about it, and no one makes negative comments about that). It has become a very supportive and positive place to work. (It was not that way when I arrived three years ago.)

  3. I am very grateful for my christian sisters, and brothers. Thank you for being my dear sister in the Lord. I love you.

  4. Quite true. Thanks for the post.

  5. Great post, Anne. Great food for thought.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. T. Anne, passion for God unfailingly draws me to a person.

    Denise, you are a dear sister in the Lord to me, too.

    Shark Bait and Gwen, thanks for being among my friends of good influence.

    Elizabeth, I'm curious: when you say "believers [of] various faiths," do you mean faiths other than Christianity, or denominations within Christianity? FYI, when I use the term "believers" I'm always referring to followers of Christ, and not just believers in God (James 2:19), and I avoid that term to prevent misunderstanding. For this post, I chose the God's Word translation to make a distinction.

  7. I couldn't agree more, Anne. I've quoted 1 Corinthians 15:33 to my kids more times than I can count!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Geographically, I live in a Christian bubble, where most folks identify with my faith. Yet I continue to have friends who do not share my faith or my beliefs.

    We are in the world, but not of it. ... So I dare venture outside of this bubble, and carry my Christ {and my cross} wherever I go. As it has been said by someone smarter than I: "You may be the only Bible that another person will ever read."

  9. Ironincally, I have been going through Corinthians and have just read this passage. I am finding myself questioning some of these passages from Paul as I take a fresh look. Not associate with believers because they behave immorally? How am I supposed to get them back on track? How am I supposed to continue loving them? It's a quandry that Paul is presenting, and I don't like it.

  10. Julie, I wish I remembered 1 Cor. 15:33 more often when allowing which TV people influence my kids.

    Jennifer, I am a whole-hearted supporter of lifestyle-evangelism grounded in biblical truth.

    Bradley, I agree these are some of the toughest questions raised by Scripture. First of all, I believe these principles apply to the more serious sins Paul is addressing, not trivial offenses, and certainly not over non-foundational doctrinal disputes. And I by no means believe separation is a first step.

    If a Christain sins against me personally, principles of Matthew 18 apply. If the sin not against me, and does not involve someone with whom I have established a relationship, then there's no friendship to be separated. If a friend is involved in serious immorality, then I'd apply Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." Separation from a Christian friend should only occur if they persist in serious sin despite efforts to influence them otherwise.

    The need to continue loving a person never stops, whether moral or immoral, friend or associate, Christ-serving or Self-serving.


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