Avoiding Wrong Impressions
“I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich ” (Genesis 14:22-23).
Abram speaks to the king of Sodom when he makes this declaration. He has just returned from a highly successful battle, including the reclaiming of many material goods that others have stolen. The king offers him the spoils of the battle, eliciting this response.
What Abraham is doing here is avoiding “the appearance of evil,” a scriptural concept that sometimes gets overlooked in our “I’ll do what I want to” world. He wants no one to be able to have the slightest idea that he has gone into this battle for his own selfish gain.
It does make a difference what other people think, and sometimes we must go out of our way to avoid giving someone the wrong impression about us or about our actions. Sometimes it is even necessary for us to make sacrifices so that others will not misunderstand who we are and what we stand for. Scriptures teach we are to “avoid the appearance of evil.”