Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 -- On Being Separate, Together

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:17-18

This is a good reminder today that there are some things that we just can't be a part of.  We live in the world, and we often want to join with others in celebrations and relationships and traditions that God doesn't approve of.  And God isn't saying at all that we can't have friends who don't believe in him, or coworkers, or that we shouldn't love people or be caring and kind to everyone.  He's not asking us to get our own islands, become hermits, or start holy wars against people who are dissimilar to us.  What he is asking is that we not participate in things that we know are evil, or put ourselves into situations that will compromise our standards.  He's asking us to be safe... to not take candy from the stranger or get into his car.  If we come home, keep the curfew, and follow the rules instead, then we'll retain our ability to make our own decisions and choose our consequences.  And that requires some separation.  It requires us to be different, to show our differences sometimes, and to let people know where we stand.  We have to say no to the stranger in the car, and keep our distance enough that he can't pull us in.  We can't compromise on important things, for instance temple marriage, chastity, the word of wisdom, baptism, or our core beliefs in God, prophets, or the scriptures.  We can't say, oh yeah, it doesn't matter, or no big deal.  There are definitely things in life that we need to be less prideful about and plenty of areas where we need to be more flexible and agreeable, but God's principles and ordinances are not negotiable in that way.
Being separate doesn't always mean standing alone though.  In the second verse God tells us that we are his sons and his daughters.  We're family.  We need to be separate from evil, but when evil isn't on the table (and hopefully this is a lot of the time), we can enjoy the company and friendship of a great diversity of people, and learn to mutually understand and respect our differences.  We can also join together with others that respect God and his goals, and learn and grow together.  That's what church is about, right?  A sinner's anonymous meeting where we are all working out how to get back on or maintain our course on the straight and narrow. :) Today, let's make sure that we stand apart when it is a question of doing anything in disharmony with God.  And the rest of the time, let's make sure we are working together, as family, on building a better world.

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