Charles J. Aebi

Discrimination is wrong when it describes racial, ethnic, economic, or social favoritism. James 1:1-6 warns against mistreating the poor, and Jesus said we are to be perfect like God in the sense of loving our enemies and treating people alike (Matthew 5:44-48). However, there is a kind of discrimination that we should practice. “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Romans 14:22). “Happy is the man who has learned to discriminate properly between good and evil or between right and wrong,” is the sense of Hebrews 5:11-14. Those who do not, the writer says, are spiritual babies who have not learned the truth of God’s word, though they have been Christians long enough that they should have.

Discrimination between good and evil is necessary. Paul, in Romans 12:9, said we should abhor what is evil and cleave to what is good. We abhor skunks and dead, rotting carcasses; we should have the same attitude toward sin. Arthur Wentworth Hewitt, in Highland Shepherds, said that sin is a terrible foulness against the great white throne of God. We should not flirt with sin – not walk nor stand nor sit in the ways of sinners (Psalm 1:1). The world around us is getting more and more wrapped up in sin, and our moral sensitivities are being dulled by TV, radio, the internet, and other electronic media.

Some fail to discriminate between good and evil because they use wrong discrimination – prejudice in favor of their friends. It is OK if Jack does it (he’s family or a friend), but the same sin is wrong for George. Others fail to stand against something that God’s principles indicate is wrong, because they want a specific catalogue of sins. Of course, if God had given us such a catalogue, they would change the names and delude selves into thinking the sin alright because it has another name. In fact, they do this with those sins which God has specifically named.

People cannot seem to discriminate to see in themselves what they see in others. One of a gang of bank robbers had his watch stolen by another member of the gang. He found out who it was, took his watch back, hit the guilty one, and said, "If there's anything I hate, it's a thief!" People drink, curse, talk dirty, are sexually loose, lie, and steal – all the while condemning these actions in others! People persuade themselves to think a thing is good just because they call it good. This is not a new phenomenon. Isaiah said, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (5:20). 

The movie and TV industries hold up immorality and wrongdoing as desirable, and the government even makes laws against labeling abominations like homosexuality wrong. The news media does the same. Several years ago Barbara Walters urged people not to eat at Cracker Barrel Restaurants because they did not hire homosexuals. We have people in the top ranks of our government, our media, and our educational systems who endorse and support homosexual and other Biblically wrong life styles. By them, real Christians are usually painted as prejudiced, ignorant, hypocrites, goody-goodies, and uncool – all because we discriminate between good and evil, and they have tried to erase or blur beyond recognition the line between good and evil. 

The word of God is the only standard by which to discriminate between good and evil, for God is the only One qualified to define good and evil. To discriminate rightly requires us to grow more spiritually mature by studying God’s word and by practicing it, thereby “exercising our senses to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). -2660 Layman Rd., Vincent, OH 45784. cjandi.aebi@gmail.com

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