Sunday, September 13, 2015

Guilty By Association

In Genesis 14 we learn that Abraham's " brother " Lot had been captured in war and that Abraham quickly went to his rescue: 

 Genesis 14: 14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

 We can learn many things from this account. 

First, we have the example of putting our family first as Abraham immediately went to the rescue his " brother ".

 Second, we learn a great deal about the way that we must not only maintain good character, but also avoid situations where our character could be misjudged because of our associations and dealings. 

 As Abraham was successful in rescuing Lot, and all of the King of Sodom's men and goods, Abraham was esteemed highly for his efforts, and the King of Sodom offered him the goods that he retrieved as a gift to Abraham for his service. 

 Genesis 14: 21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

 Abraham's decision to not take the reward of the goods- first, can be a witness to his devotion to keep his covenants ( his promise to not be of the world or to accept offerings in worldly ways, but to love God and despise evil and all associated with it. ) 

Second, we learn a manner in which Abraham had made his covenants, as he explains that he " lift up his hand " to the Lord that he will not have any portion of evil ( associations/dealings with the King of Sodom ). 

 I wonder if there may have been some temptation involved for Abraham to accept the offering from the King of Sodom not only for the wealth he would obtain, but also for the pride he might have in his heart for being recognized by a worldly king? 

Thankfully Abraham chose to keep his promise to love God and despise evil ( you can not serve two masters ) and protect the name of Jesus Christ, which he represented.

 As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we are being watched all of the time. As we are righteous we stand as a witness that He is righteous. If we are not careful about our associations and friends we may not be able to maintain our good character and even if we do not fall to temptation, we risk polluting the reputation of God - GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION - as it has been explained.

The Adversary would have us pollute the name of His church through our bad character. If he can not persuade us to have bad character, he will tempt others to misjudge our character in order to tear down The Kingdom of God on earth ( the church ). 

 These are some scriptures that add to the truths that Abraham teaches us during this account: 

 1 Thessalonians 5:22 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 

 - Proverbs 13: 20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. 

 - 1 Corinthians 15: 33 Do not be deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 

 - 2 Corinthians 6: 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

 In my own life I have greatly been mistaken in my past as I allowed myself to be deceived with the lie that I could associate/deal with those whom had different standards than myself and not be influenced or considered to be like them.

 I have suffered consequences in those choices. Today I am in great peace to know that my character will not be misjudged because of the places that I spend my time in, and the things that I spend my time on. 

 I am eternally thankful for these examples that we have the in the scriptures and I will never be able to adequately express the love that I have in my heart for my Savior whom has allowed me more chances each day to be a better representative of Him and to keep on trying each and everyday. 

 I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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