November 18, 2017

The Influence of Wrong Places

By Harry R. Osborne

If we are trying to do right, there are some places that we just do not go. For instance, we have no business in a "crack house" if we are not looking for drugs. We have no business in a porno shop if we do not wish to pollute and pervert our mind. There is a harmful influence exerted by even being in the wrong place.

The book of Proverbs speaks of this fact repeatedly (see Proverbs 2). It depicts life as being a journey upon one of two distinct paths. On either path, we are said to be in distinct associations which influence our actions.

The "way of goodness" is the road traveled by those seeking to do right. It is also referred to as "the paths of life" or "the paths of righteousness." Those who walk in this way are said to seek and find wisdom.

The "way of evil" is traveled by those who turn away from the right way revealed by God. Other terms like "the ways of darkness" and "the paths of death" are used to describe that environment of sin. Those who walk in the way bring themselves to spiritual death and aid others towards that same end. Much of the Bible reaffirms the horrible influence of being in the wrong place with the wrong surroundings.

David allowed an evil influence to affect him by remaining on the roof with a view where he saw Bathsheba bathing (2 Sam. 11:2-5). The effect of giving his lusting eyes the opportunity to look was adultery, then lying, then murder, and finally open shame. All of it started from the influence of the wrong place.

Might we be guilty of allowing ourselves to be in a place where lusting eyes could bring us to sin and shame? With the state of undress common in modern "swim wear," can we really say the beaches and pools of today are much different than David's view of Bathsheba? Is it any wonder that we have a growing rate of teenage pregnancy when we have such increasingly immodest dress in our time?

Genesis 19 shows the grossly wicked society of Sodom and its effects upon Lot and his family. When a city is so filled with the evil of homosexuality, the citizens are led to accept moral depravity of every kind. After being surrounded by the perversion of homosexuality, Lot's daughters came to view even incest as permissible.

When we allow our families to be influenced by the entertainment industry who seeks to reshape our thinking about moral issues like homosexuality, are we far behind the situation of Lot's time? Is it any wonder that our society has a growing rate of other moral perversions when we are told to accept the perversion of homosexuality? If we wonder whether such action is perverted, God answers the question plainly (Rom. 1:26-27).

Paul sounded an alarm about the problem of evil influence in simple words when he said, "Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33). Being in the wrong place with the wrong people has always pulled one in the wrong way. It still does today.

We need to urge our children to stay away from the drug houses and places of evil repute. We need to teach them to flee from such ungodly surroundings, rather than compromising with it by their presence. Failure to flee from the evil will lead to a greater acceptance of the evil and ultimately to participation in it.

At the same time that we urge our children about these things, let us remember the same is true about the influence of evil within our homes. The child who hears about the evils of drug abuse going on in a crack house will not be persuaded when the lecture comes from an alcohol using mom or dad in their own house. They will see the inconsistency.

The child who hears about the need to stay away from the places where fornication and immorality take place will not view the advice too seriously if the parent giving the advice has a TV program on which parades such evils into the living room. Filth from the streets is still filth when it is dressed up, glamorized, and broadcast on television.

Instead of heeding the influence of the evils around us, we need to separate ourselves from them and let God's will influence our thinking. Our efforts to do that will be aided by turning away from the influence of the wrong place and letting our minds be filled with God's word.

How can we do this in our homes? We can show our children a few right places. We can gather around the table with Bibles open to study God's word. We can gather on our knees in prayer. In every day life, we can let God's word and his ways have the place of honor needed in our homes.

Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 11, p. 11
June 2, 1994

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