Television is filled with shows based upon the concept guilt by association. Whether you prefer dramas like Bones, Castle, CSI or NCIS, each follow a similar format. A death, murder or victim is found in the opening scene. Crime scene investigators collect evidence, put together a list of suspects and use modern technology to solve each case. Initially, the obvious culprits are interviewed leading the audience in one direction before a twist or turn take authorities to a previously unknown person of interest. Although some episodes are based upon true stories, viewers of these programs should be weary of their own friends with troubled pasts.
Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers), Psalm 1:1.
The first chapter of the longest book in the Bible addresses guilt by association. The passage above provides a short list of what to do and what not to do. The author uses walking to illustrate how you can begin hanging out the wrong people. Though walking is an innocent act, its like an open door into another world. The further you walk with someone, the more you begin to accept, embrace and stand for ungodly beliefs. However, the moment you sit down with this crowd, joining and participating in similar acts commences. This passage serves as a warning, encouraging souls to avoid guilt by association through seeking God’s blessings.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity], Psalm 1:2-3.
The passage above provides a blueprint for those who desire to please God. Meditating on God’s Word, the Bible helps prevent individuals from walking, standing and joining inappropriate acts, behavior and deeds. Meanwhile, spiritual disciplines like Bible Study, prayer and worship rejuvenate souls daily as if drinking from the living water mentioned in John 4:14. If you clearly want to avoid guilt by association in the future, live out the apostle Paul’s advice in Colossians 2:6-7 to become deeply rooted in Christ.
by Jay Mankus