If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work. 2 John, verses 10 and 11.
Yesterday’s blog was about walking a tight wire in faith. Today let’s revisit that concept with a reminder of why it’s crucial. Simply put, it’s wicked. Further more, if we don’t ‘bring it,’ we are wicked too. Wicked?
That’s a word that doesn’t get played enough these days. When I was a kid, ‘wicked’ was a wicked cool thing. Wicked cool; wicked awful; wicked fun; wicked neat; you get the picture. Pop culture appropriates what it likes, then changes the meaning for the sake of coolness, and the rest of us usually step in line. Wicked awful at it too. Or there’s the Broadway play, “Wicked.” From what I’ve heard, it’s a lot of fun. It’s the play about the witches of Oz. Wicked awful fun again.
But dictionary.com define wicked this way: “evil or morally bad in principle or practice; sinful; iniquitous.” That’s how Jesus depicted ‘wicked:’ evil. Morally bad. Sinful. Even iniquitous, as if simple iniquity itself weren’t bad enough that we make it into a character trait. What the Apostle John said wasn’t cooly descriptive or delicious entertainment. He said that if we welcome, invite, and encourage someone in living a life away from Jesus, we share in their evil behavior. Worse, we’re an enabler. Evil. Not bad, not mistaken, not slightly over the line: evil.
And yet, how do we balance this living in a world where most people want to do good but, by nature, aren’t inherently good? I mean, even if we believe and even if we follow Jesus and do all He expects of us, there’s no getting around the fact that we’re still living in the land east of Eden. We’re all sinful, and we all know people who are our friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and so-forth and aren’t we judging them harshly if we don’t give them the benefit of the doubt?
Sadly, yes. That’s part of our mission.
We shouldn’t trust our feelings: we should trust our knowledge of God. If one’s conscience sticks that whatever it is we’re doing isn’t right, then it probably isn’t. If our friends tempt us into doing those things, it’s probably not right either. The right thing to do is turn away from it. Shut the door, turn off the light, don’t compromise with evil. We can’t parse evil and take it on a little bit at a time: we can only fight it with Jesus and stay away.
If we don’t, we’re wicked. We’re inviting wickedness into our lives, our homes, and hitching our star to it. We’re joining ourselves to wickedness and becoming wicked ourselves.
Lord, preserve me to turn from wickedness