As I sat this morning in my study, I was reminded by the Lord of a helpful truth for all believers. This truth is the concept of spiritual avoidance. Often times, unspiritual minds will accuse someone of being a coward when they purposefully avoid certain situations and conversations that have a Biblically predictable outcome. There is a big difference between standing for “sound doctrine,” and meddling in strife that doesn’t belong to you. (Proverbs 26:17) Jesus Christ modeled this concept perfectly in his ministry when he refused to be the judge between two offended parties. (Luke 12:14) If Christ decided that the best course of action for situations like these was to avoid them…shouldn’t we?
So, what does the Bible say about spiritual avoidance? We have seen the precedent that the Lord Jesus Christ gave in avoiding judgment that doesn’t belong to us. Are there any Biblical principles that validate this action?
Romans 16:17 - “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
2 Timothy 2:23 - “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.”
Titus 3:9 - “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.”
1 Timothy 6:20 - “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:”
Proverbs 26:4 - “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.”
Certainly there are more references that could be used here to illustrate this principle of spiritual avoidance. Not every matter is one that we should give ourselves to enter into. Most times, we are better served to avoid these conversations and situations that gender more strife, confusion, and questions than they do answers. Some men are wiser in their own conceit than seven men who can render a reason. Most of the time, it does not matter if you have Biblical reasoning and scripture to back up your position. These divisive brethren are just looking for a fight, and they will happily drag you through the mud, if you choose to entertain them in a conversation or debate. Some things are better left alone. Some things are meant to be avoided. This not a sign of cowardliness, but rather a tenant of Biblical wisdom.
Proverbs 17:14 - “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”
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Pastor Harris has been the pastor of Gulf Coast Baptist Church since 2020 and enjoys spending time with his family, studying the Bible, and ice cream.