“Shun those who are irreverent. Shun one who is a lover of idleness; shun the one who is a scoffer of hallowed things. Avoid the society of one who uses profane language or is addicted to the use of even one glass of liquor. Listen not to the proposals of a man who has no realization of his responsibility to God. The pure truth which sanctifies the soul will give you courage to cut yourself loose from the most pleasing acquaintance whom you know does not love and fear God, and knows nothing of the principles of true righteousness. We may always bear with a friend’s infirmities and with his ignorance, but never with his vices.” –Chapter 13.  Relationships, “A Call to Stand Apart”

How many of you would take a clear, pure glass of water, place a drop of blood in the water and drink it?  How many of you would take that same clear, pure glass of water, and place one drop of urine and drink it?  Sounds ridiculous and gross, doesn’t it?  Yet, this is what occurs daily in our lives and although we would not drink that glass, we are the ones who are allowing ourselves to become contaminated by the filthy influences which surround us even by the relationships we keep!

I have an aunt who once said, “Family is often a word used to offer an excuse to associate with people with whom we would not normally associate!”  I’ve given this thought over the years and think it is a profound statement.  Think about it.  Even in my life of addiction to substance abuse, there was something which I could not do, did not like to do and that was to be around people who drank.  Now, I’m not judging between their addiction and mine but it is simply a preference.  I do not like to be around people who drink liquor.  Yet, there are members of my family who drank and during times of family reunion while they were having their “tastes” out of their cups, I overlooked my prejudices.  Why?  Because they were family, but on the street, you can’t get me to into a bar or club were alcohol is being served.  Even the very smell of it oozing from one’s body is sickening to me.

I noticed when I was experiencing my times of incarceration, when I needed to step up my game because I was being challenged, there were times when even I was surprised with what was coming out of my mouth!  I HATE foul language.  Sure, I went through my “cussing” stage in my early teens, of course, not within hearing-shot of my parents or any other responsible adult which could bring me down in a painful situation, but shortly before I even got to my twenties, I refused to allow such language to be a part of my existence, and really don’t like to associate with those who use this type of language.  I would not associate with them, whether family or friend, in meeting yet how many of us are assaulted by reading it on the various posts, not of strangers, per se, but they are the friends of our loved ones who comment on their posts!  You don’t think this has an influence on you?  Wait and see!

I think about our youth, well, let’s expand that group today to even the middle-age with regard to music.  When I was growing up, there was a separation between the music I listened to and what my parents enjoyed.  I wanted no parts of theirs and they wanted no part of mine; and, for good reason, but that line of separation seem to have disappeared.  Have you noticed that?  To me, there are very few things considered awkward than to see a gray-headed man, or woman, bopping their head to the beat of 50 Cent!  While in my time we struggled with the beat of music, today it has gone further with the lyrics and now with a visual assault of our senses through videos, the influence of what is heard stays longer and contaminates us to even a greater extent.  In some prisons they’ve cut out the video channels because of too many incidents surrounding the “mess” which is being called music today.

We make our own road difficult as we’re traveling toward the Heavenly Kingdom.  Many of us won’t be able to make it into the New Jerusalem because we’re content with the Old Jerusalem.  Old Jerusalem was destroyed because the people wouldn’t leave when they were warned and many of us are going to be found just as guilty, corrupted and destroyed because of the influences we surround ourselves by what we read, see and hear, and that sadly, because of the relationships we’ve formed.  I have had to begin blocking people I’ve associated over the years, whether in church or school.  I’ve had to become discriminatory because, and I’ll admit this, I’m weak, and as a result of this weakness, do not want to become wrongly influenced and miss out on what my goal is, and it is not staying down here with you!

Some of us will have to learn to say “no” to loved ones and friends and like Paul, leave them for the Holy Spirit to do His work on them, before we are found in a position to have to have Him do His work on our lives because we permitted too many wrongful influences to come within our purview.  I’ve began eliminating tracks from my digital music collection.  I’ve began deleting and refusing to read certain authors of fictional work and this hasn’t been easy because of my easily acceptable standards which have been lowered over the years, so my testing method “IS” becoming, could I enjoy that song, that book, if Jesus was sitting right here beside me?  Would I be able to enjoy this type of music, that book, this friendship in the Heaven?  If you have to answer “no” or even hesitate for moment with an answer, you’ve got the answer but are you willing to cut away those things which are contaminating influences?

Just as I wouldn’t drink from the water as described a moment ago, I certainly wouldn’t want to be rejected by those cleaning up their lives because I’ve allowed mine to be contaminated.


June 18, 2015


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