human sin

Question on the Perception of Impropriety

There’s a question that?’s been nagging me the last couple of days. Instead of letting it repeat I thought it would be good to ask it here and see if there’s any answers from my sole reader. You know who you are. Anyway, as a guy is it wrong to hang out with another guy by myself?

Just to preempt your thinking, this isn’t grounded on any household arguments. I was thinking along the lines of Paul’s recommendation (1 Thes 5:22) to avoid any appearance of evil (which a person can take as “form of evil” or “something that looks evil”). I’ve long been told not to hang out with a woman by myself lest (1) I get tempted or (2) others perceive that something is going on. The admonishment sounds something like “you don’t want anyone to think there’s impropriety going on.”

Nowadays impropriety happens all over the place. Well, it’s always happened but it seems to be more out in the open now. There?s a bunch of men in the south who consider themselves heterosexuals who like to have sex with men?so they do. We have pro-Man/Boy love associations while repeated reports of such happening s occurring in churches. A guy hanging out with a young boy can easily be perceived as impropriety. Two girls hanging out by themselves might be perceived as impropriety. Even groups–well, you get my point.

So what do you think? Is there something presuppositionally wrong with my line of thought that sparked the question? Is there a way to solve this conundrum?

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6 replies on “Question on the Perception of Impropriety”

perceived and appearance are very different words. You will see clearly idea of and or actually seeing the evil. Evil means to hurt. That is the definition in the Hebrew and greek. Here are the full on definitions ”
1) full of labours, annoyances, hardships
a) pressed and harassed by labours
b) bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble
2) bad, of a bad nature or condition
a) in a physical sense: diseased or blind
b) in an ethical sense: evil wicked, badTake care and God bless those that love Jesus and will do God’s will!

Rey – I think it depends on what cultural assumptions would be. Do people (especially non-believers since that is who the verse you are talking about is primarily speaking about) automatically assume that because you are hanging out with a guy that you are gay? I don’t think that’s an assumption unless you give them reason to think that. However, it will also depend on the environment of who you are talking to.When I worked in corporate, I would often hear about the amount of drinking that people did. Around them, I would not drink nor would I talk about my own intake of alcohol…the reason being is that their assumption of minimal consumption was WAY over what my maximum consumption would be. To talk about it would give a hint of impurity.Does that help?

The admonition in 1Thesselonians 5:22 is not to abstain from things that look evil, but from things that actually are evil. Yes, you should be careful of the impression your actions might give others, but you don’t find that in this passage.I think it’s ridiculous to think that you can’t be seen with another man. Here is how that logic plays out:Don’t be seen with your mother or sister, or any other female relative. People who don’t know them, but know you’re married, might think you’re having an extra-marital affair. Others who don’t know either of you might think they’re your shacked-up girlfriend. Still others who know both of you might think you have an incestuous relationship. Closer to your example, put your father and brothers into the equation.Don’t be seen alone with your own children because people might think… well, you know what.Finally, don’t go out in public alone with your wife. Strangers don’t know you’re married. It’s no stretch to assume you’re living in sin like a large portion of the population is.In fact, you’d better stay away from everyone.Ridiculous enough? OK, back in the real world, I wouldn’t go to a gay hang-out with a male friend. That would look bad. But then, I’m not likely to go anywhere like that, anyway.

I agree with David’s point. And as a further example to back it up. The issue Paul had in Corinth was that there was “immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles” All the same perversions existed back then and Paul never mentioned any problems with the iffy fact that everyone seemed to know if someone was circumsized or not.

This is actually a mistranslation, according to most commentators nowadays. They argue that it says to avoid every kind of evil. The noun can mean either form or appearance, but two things suggest form rather than appearance. One is that Paul’s statement is similar to several OT passages that have no sense of appearance to them (e.g. Job 1:1,. Those contexts also include ‘pas’ in the LXX, for “every” in English. When the word appears without that, it can mean “appearance”, but it never occurs elsewhere with ‘pas’ to mean “appearance”.The other issue is that even the cases where it means appearance can’t mean what this verse is taken to mean in, e.g., the KJV. When it means appearance it’s about the appearance of something that reflects its underlying nature, not the appearance of something that gives a false impression. So even if it’s saying to avoid the appearance of evil, it wouldn’t be the mere appearance. It would be a command to avoid the outward sign of real evil in the heart.I do think that there can be good rules of thumb regarding how we are perceived, but I don’t see it as the kind of command this is in the KJV. That just doesn’t seem to be what Paul has in mind. Any such recommendation has to be a rule of thumb that can be better or worse in different circumstances, depending on what other rules of thumb come into play (or what deeper moral considerations are involved).

If you are a manager and you are married and going through a divorce and you are a professed christian.
You are also hanging out with a direct report who happens to be a young single women. That is a preception of Impropriety.

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