Today’s Scripture: But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.  2 Corinthians 11:11-12

On one occasion, I preached from Thessalonians which talks about abstaining from all appearance of evil. I had taught about being very careful to protect your marriage. For example, a man should never go in a car alone with a woman he’s not married to, and pastors ought never counsel women alone.  Afterwards, I had a man come up to criticize me and said, “Pastor, you are pretty big on that abstaining from all appearance of evil.” I took it as a compliment because I absolutely am. I think it is so important to avoid the appearance of evil, because the Bible clearly says we should.

The enemies of Paul had created a situation where Paul was forced to talk about himself. They had accused him of being ignorant, of making up the Gospel, and of financial impropriety. Paul couldn’t control what they said about him, so he did what he could – he stole the ammunition they were trying to use against him.

By answering the lies with the truth, Paul had cut off the enemy’s ability to accuse him. He had lived his life to such a high level that they wanted to charge him with something, but they couldn’t. The accusations didn’t hold up. There wasn’t anything there. He had “…cut off occasion…” Paul had a tremendous testimony. He had “…abstained from all appearance of evil.”

This is a lesson for all of us. There are some things that we can do, but people might misunderstand what is going on.  I’m very careful about certain things in my life – I don’t want anyone to be able to accuse me, even falsely. People may still falsely accuse you, but they will have no occasion if you have abstained from any appearance of evil. If you have lived your life correctly, their accusations won’t stand up.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.