Abhor What is Evil

February 1, 2024

In Psalm 1, there is a famous "progression": walk > stand > sit. But the psalmist isn't like an exercise smartwatch urging you to reverse that progression. He is sounding a warning about becoming more and more comfortable with sin.

If you are unfamiliar with this passage, the psalmist begins in verse 1 by announcing that "blessed" people won't "walk in the counsel of the wicked," nor will they "stand in the way of sinners," and they definitely won't "sit in the seat of scoffers." Each phrase shows how easily people can become more and more comfortable with sin and evil, which eventually leads us further and further from God and His blessing. That which was once shocking and offensive can become fine and normal over time and repeated exposure.

But God uses the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12 to tell us to "abhor what is evil."

Yet, I fear that we oftentimes don't simply "walk" near evil things. We may also find ourselves beginning to stand near them and even taking our seat among them. While I am hopefully the least likely pastor to beckon you to legalism, I wonder if at times I am unknowingly the opposite of the Psalm 1 man. Rather than being blessed because I am a tree that stands firm in God's grace (Psalm 1:3), I end up following that progression without realizing how comfortable I have become with certain forms of evil.

Abhor What Is Evil • Riverwood Church

But if we are going to follow last week's opening words to let love be genuine, then we have to abhor evil. We have to despise how substance abuse has destroyed lives. We need to detest things like human trafficking. We should be disgusted by racism. We should be mortified by sin and its effects that ravage the lives of our loved ones and community.

However, I find myself at times merely thinking "that's too bad" or "that's not good," and then just going back to my regularly scheduled life. I don't abhor. I just sort of dislike it at best and ignore it at worst.

But I want my love to be genuine, to love like Jesus loved. And Jesus abhorred evil so much, He died on a rugged cross to defeat sin's eternal impact upon those who put their faith in Him.

So if we're following Jesus, we need to ask ourselves: What kinds of evil might we be too comfortable with? And how can we abhor it while simultaneously loving people who bear God's image?

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

News & Notes in Your Inbox

Receive Riverwood's "News & Notes" weekly email in your inbox. Submit your email address below and stay in the loop.

Subscription Form

Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

We are on a mission to help people love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

It doesn't matter to us if you:

  • are a Wartburg student or a grandparent,
  • vote Democrat or Republican,
  • are married, divorced, or single,
  • have gone to church for years or haven't been to church in years,
  • make $100,000/yr. or wonder how you're going to pay rent this month,
  • or fear your past mistakes make you unlovable to God or others.

No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, we want to help you become who God has created you to be.

About Us
Join Us Sundays Starting at 9:30am CST
Last Week's Sermon