Romans 16:17-18,20 – I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive…The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
When it comes to those who are evil, those who seek to cause harm, those whose desire it is for your demise, there’s a little phrase I’ve heard said that I think is helpful – “If you engage, you will enrage.” It comes from a man named Gavin de Becker; while I don’t have any inclination he’s a believer, he’s a counterterrorism expert who trains a lot of military personnel.
Paul seems to agree with that sentiment here. He tells us to watch out for them and then to do what? Nothing. It’s like another common phrase – “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” They’re evil! You can’t reconcile with them, negotiate with them, or compromise with them. You simply avoid them.
It may mean changing your number, it may mean blocking someone on your phone or social media, it may mean moving, it may mean drawing some hard boundaries. You must find a safe distance between you and them to protect yourself from them.
As hard as that may be to say or do nothing, especially when someone speaks badly of you or desires ill will towards you, the Holy Spirit will help empower you to do what’s safest for you in your situation.
Do you know any evil people in your life? If so, you may need to draw some hard boundaries with them. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you guidance and discernment on how to proceed.
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.