Evil has a way of masking itself. In this study of Proverbs, we learn what evil is and what kind of people to stay away from.

The proverb says:

Don’t follow the bad example of cruel and evil [wicked KJV] people. Turn aside and keep going. Stay away from them. (vs 14-15 CEV)

Most Christians look at the phrases wicked people or evil people as “really bad sinners” like those who bombed the trade center, flew planes into the twin towers, and mass murdered the Jews. But they fail to understand that wickedness and evil are plain ol’ sin. Anything that goes against the standards of God is wickedness and evil. It doesn’t matter to what degree.

Wickedness is manipulating another person to get something from them. Wickedness is arrogance and pride. Wickedness is selfishness. Evil is gossiping behind someone’s back. Evil is shoplifting. Evil is telling lies. Evil is fornication or molestation. Evil is pirating digital media. The proverbs say to stay away from people such as these.

I believe this applies to those who are practitioners of sin and not necessarily people who sin on occasion (followers of God). We all make mistakes and occasionally fall into sin, but we are not trying to sin. We don’t practice sin, rather, we repent, and through God’s grace, we are able to live righteously (Titus 2:11-12).

But we’ve got to stay away from people who practice sin, and especially those who claim to be Christians. This was so true for me when I was in the harlot church. Because of my fellowship with them, I was often in sin. I do not blame them for my sins, but I understand why this proverb is in the bible. Another reference to this is found in 1 Corinthians 15:33.

If you’ve been born again, you know right from wrong and you can perceive your surroundings. Do you follow the bad examples set before you, or do you turn away? Have you made the decision to live for Christ but still fellowship with folks who practice evil and wickedness? The proverbs says to stay away from such people.

How they think

They can’t sleep or rest until they do wrong or harm some innocent victim. Their food and drink are violence and cruelty. (16-17 CEV)

This is the opposite from the followers of Jesus. If we do something wrong, we lose sleep until it’s resolved and we’ve repented. But this scripture goes to show how backwards these wicked people’s minds are. They are convicted by the fact that they haven’t done any wrong and they rest easy knowing that they have committed sin.

The proverbs says they victimize the innocent. So their sin isn’t in retaliation for crimes against them, but they do wrong to people who don’t even deserve it. They drink and eat violence and cruelty! This could mean that they ultimately consume the very fruit they’ve planted, for the bible says, “what a man sows he will also reap.” So I don’t want to be around when they reap their harvest of destruction for their sin. Once again, we are called to stay away from such people.

The comparison

The lifestyle of good people is like sunlight at dawn that keeps getting brighter until broad daylight. The lifestyle of the wicked is like total darkness, and they will never know what makes them stumble. (vs 18-19 CEV)

The comparison between good and evil is like day and night. Those who follow God are growing and getting brighter. This means we aren’t there yet, but there is clear evidence, just as dawn, that we are progressing away from darkness (sin) and into holiness and righteousness. If we are real Christians, we will have evidence in our lives. We will commit less and less sin and more righteous and good works through God’s grace. We will be moving closer and closer to Jesus and becoming more like him.

I hate the excuses the Liberal Christians give about sin, saying: “We’re all growing.” But how can they be growing if they are unrepentant and continue to practice sin!? If there isn’t progression in your life, if you’re not getting brighter, and if you make excuses for your sin then you are in darkness and a child of the devil (1 John 3:10).

As evil people roam the night, they stumble, but they never know what makes them stumble. The bible says that they love darkness (John 3:19), but at the same time, it’s not as if they can actually see in the darkness (which is foolish). This means they are blinded spiritually. They sin because they are children of the devil, but they stay blind because they’ve made the choice to continue to practice sin. I pray for the blinded. I pray that the Lord will remove the veil and show himself.

If you are a follower of God and you fellowship with those who practice sin, it would be wise of you to disassociate yourself from them. You are not only disobeying God but allowing yourself to be corrupted by those people. I don’t care if they call themselves Christians – stay away from them.

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28 Comments

  1. Neal, the more I read the more I think I have softened on the truth. It is already lonely enough out there on this walk but you are right, we hang out with this kind of stuff we are led to stumble and even if we don’t, we are giving hearty approval to those that sin by our presence and silence. It is indeed a narrow road

    1. Yes indeed. I’m finding this out the hard way. But only for a season will we be walking alone – only for a season. What the Lord has told me is: when the church raises in maturity, I’ll have fellowship with like-minded and “like-natured” (born of God) believers because we truly need everyone to get the work of God done. What God is doing now is getting rid of all the i-need-to-belong-to-this-group, or I-need-friends problems in my fallen nature. He trying to get me to grow up. He teaching me that he is my #1 friend and family. Once this is established in my mind, I can have fellowship and friends, but only those who are children of God. In my fallen nature, I tend to look to government systems, family and friends for comfort, security, and fellowship, apart from God. If I do fellowship with God, there’s very little time left over. God wants all my time and he wants me to get to the place that I recognize that he is everything to me.

      1. Hi Neal, my name is Monique, where r u from? You are like minded with me, so refreshing finding people with your outlook is very hard to find….

  2. I have a big concern about this topic, the question I have is what happens after we stumble and fall? Do we deserve to get a bad name? Do we delay the purpose of God with our lives? Do we remain the salt and light? The world will they want to receive Jesus? What really happens?

    1. Mbeki, this article is about people who continue and practice sin, NOT folks who fall, repent, confess and get back up—we welcome them back with open arms.

    2. If we keep repenting each time we violate Gods law, it will be forgiven. And if you make efforts to kill of that sin or sins, God sees that effort, and will send a comforter. When Lucifer whispers in our ear to be tempted, he is actually working on Gods behalf, for if we say no to that temptation over and over than God is very well pleased in us , just as he said to Jesus, This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.

  3. Yes, Mbeki , as Neal stated if you happen to fall….. you get back up! You don’t stay there and wallow in filth, you confess your sins, repent and get washed off in the Blood! You don’t get a bad name if you’re justified, as long as you’re in good standing with God you are called The RIGHTEOUSNESS of God. You can expect a bad name if it’s how the world is to see you, remember they hated Christ first…..

  4. Also Mbeki, in response to your other questions….. The scripture says no one lights a candle to put it under a bushel, that would be the same as falling and staying down. The salt that has lost it’s savor or become contaminated with dirt is to be thrown out and trodden under the feet of men. If you mess up on this journey return quickly and repent, if you are wise and do this then your portion of God’s Work for you will continue as God Will’s not you or your pace. I’m prayerfully hoping any desiring along with The Father and you that none be lost….. Blessings!

  5. My question is this.. What if someone is sick, though they have people to take care of them, but they have many health problems, I thought I was supposed to love my neighbor. then again she says she is Christian, Catholic, and keeps right on sinning and many sins,, she does, often. So my question is.. The Bible says to stay away from a Christian, who keeps sinning, if she keeps on sinning being a Christian, but has a lot of health issues, should I be there for her? She says I am a bad Christian, and that I am sinning greatly buy not helping her out!

    1. Tina. I don’t know the details of this person health issues or the nature of the sins they are caught in. However, I don’t believe that just because a person has health issues that it makes for a justified reason to keep sinning. The bible speaks about habitual sin. Having health issues also is no excuse for a person to not have read the bible themselves and thus know the law and what their sin is. If they are a Catholic, it may be that they have not read the bible and may not know or understand all the different ways that one can sin although one would understand even without reading the bible, if they are saved through faith in Jesus alone, and not by works as some Christians I think falsely believe, then the Holy Spirit would convict that person of their sin. The bible also tells us about God’s grace and that we are saved by grace but it also says “should we keep on sinning so that grace may increase? No!” The fact that this person has accused you of being a bad Christian if you don’t help her rings alarm bells in my head. This type of behavior is often an attempted diversion tactic away from their own errors, but it actually exposes them for who they are. I could be wrong, as like I said, I don’t know the specific circumstances, and I don’t know her heart. My advice to you is don’t allow them to continue to take advantage of your kindness if they are not genuine if their faith. Yes, keep praying for them. If you feel you are strong enough and are willing, share the gospel with her again and maybe ask if she would like to study the bible with you. You may be able to point her to specific scriptures that address her particular sins, but this can be dangerous if a person is not receptive and has not given you the ok to do that, but by all means, share the gospel. I don’t think you are actually helping her or yourself if you allow her to continue in the patterns of behavior you have described here. Hope this helps Tina. God bless.

  6. Tina, you cannot condone her actions but at the same time you cannot condemn the person. It is ok to be there for her in sickness and keep her uplifted in prayer. But, that is truly the only way you can help her. The light does not shine in darkness. If she is willfully sinning then her Faith is in question. The only thing you can do is keep leading her to Christ through his word. You can’t abandon her but, you should only be around her as it relates to helping her through the sickness or ministering to her.

  7. Hi, My question is this.. I was raised in a foster home. My mother was murdered many years ago. I only meet a few cousin’s on my father’s side. I have one sister whom I tried to get to know. However her spirit is wicked. I am a born again Christian I live for Jesus. I couldn’t understand for years why we just cannot never get to know one another.It’s as if some force is keeping us apart. I have hear from many people that my father family practice witchcraft. I met a cousin on my father’s side for dinner. We talk about the family. I asked her is there any truth to the rumors. She said yes they have been practicing witchcraft for years ever since she was a little girl. And add that my sister have a guy friend who does it for her. I prayed and I asked God way before I met my cousin for dinner to give me a sign. Why is it that my sister and I cannot connect? What is in the way? In my spirit God answer it through my cousin. Should I stay away from my father family altogether? As for my sister I don’t feel comfortable around her. Thank you, Sophia

    1. Sophia,
      We all feel a strong connection or need to be with our blood families, but you’ve been born again and the earthly family comes second to your spiritual family. But if in fact you’re having trouble connecting with blood family members who practice witchcraft, it may very well be God protecting and shielding you from potential pain and suffering. You should not push for these relationships. Be led by God in all your relationships. based off what you’ve stated here, here’s what the bible says:

      Psalm 26:5 ESV says: I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. Psalm 26:4 ESV says: I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.

      2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV) says:

      14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols?

      For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

  8. Help! I have a question about this topic of ‘avoiding wicked and evil people’ and the other bible verses that want us to ‘honor our mother and father’. My elderly mother has had a personality disorder her whole life that makes her incredibly selfish, arrogant, prideful, and manipulative. She is a constant lier, gossiper and is entitled to everything any one else has and more. How do I as her sole Born Again Christian caregiver, balance ‘honor’ with staying away from wickedness and evil?

    1. Hi Cyndee,
      My comment to Sophia could be helpful to you The scriptures are clear about our associations. Your relationship with God is more important than other relationships. Other people can help in the care of the elderly and you don’t have to be the sole provider or take it all on yourself. You can still care for her from a distance. Ask God for wisdom on how to do this so that you guard your soul in the process. And you aren’t dishonoring your mother by not putting up with wickedness—don’t ever let a parent manipulate you into thinking you’re dishonoring them just because you refuse to deal with their wickedness.

    2. Ephesians 5:11 also comes to mind: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Have no fellowship with such people who do such things, but rather rebuke (express sharp disapproval or criticism of them because of their behavior or actions).

      This is not dishonoring to your parent. Actually it’s an act of love because by the rebuke and potential disfellowship, might the person repent and be saved. Often times in families people don’t rebuke bad behavior and therefore the offending party goes to hell having never been corrected.

      Jesus said:

      Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew 10:34-36).

      Why this division for the gospel’s sake. Sometimes family don’t get alone because they’re of two different kingdoms. In this case it isn’t dishonor to walk away from such family members especially when they’re at odds with your God.

  9. Hi I’m so glad that I have came across your site, you have definitely shown me a lot of truths. However , how can I stay away from evil people who continue to practice sin if I am married to one? Yes I’m talking about my husband, I obviously wouldn’t be pleasing God if I left him. Any thoughts? Thank you, Dayna

    1. Dayna, this is what I tell wives in situations like yours:

      “In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” (1 Peter 3:1-2 NLT)

      God can change him through prayer and submission.

  10. Question : i have a sick parents specially my mom who needs 24/7 care. I care for both of them and live with me. I have two sisters and a brother who live nearby but they are not willing to help out. Only when they feel like it. It’s been over six years now that I’ve been taking care of them so I’ve been wanted to go on vacation with my family but my sisters don’t want to take care of my parents for just one week that i desperately need. I used to ask them often and they used to get mad at me because they said I’m bothering them. They have no idea how hard it is to take care of disabled parents. My mom has dementia, I dialysis, and an a wheelchair while my dad is deaf on one ear and blind on one eye due to diabetes. So, lately i decided to stay away from my sisters. I don’t see any reason to be around them if they won’t do their share. To me that’s wickedly selfish.

  11. Asia, I know exactly how your feeling. I took care of my elderly Mother. She is now in a nursing home. I have been persecuted and degrated by my sister and brother for years. I have been called holier than thou and threatened by my sister yelled at by my brother for years without it ever getting better. Even now when they are both in their 60’s! Because these two visit my mother in the home and I live 1 1/2 hrs away and can’t get there as often as they, she seems to have taken sides with them. When they disrespect me for any reason , the latest was my sister not inviting me to the family Christmas at her house until the day before, when everyone else was invited weeks before! my Mother just makes excuses for them and refuses to see any wrong doing on their part. She instead makes me feel like I am wrong in feeling disrespected and blames me for saying anything. I now not only have these negative feelings towards my siblings and have made the decision to stay away from them so they can no longer persecute me but I see my own Mother is being brainwashed against me. I am dealing with the guilt of not calling or messaging my mother as usual . I feel like an outcast , I refused to attend Christmas at my sisters because I actually feel like a dog returning to its vomit by allowing myself to be in their presence so as to give them the opportunity to rebuke me once more.
    I have distanced myself from them in the past yet they still find ways to degrade me.
    From the Pastors teaching above I am coming to realize that Jesus is and should be #1 in our hearts and lives. If I. Put my focus on Him when the enemies come at me for any reason, I will be shielded by Him!
    Key is to keep our focus on the one who loves us unconditionally and who will never leave us or forsake us! God Bless you all !

  12. Hi. I loved this post. I do have one question though. Jesus has called us to not associate with such people, but He has also called us to go out into the world to spread His gospel. How can we be a light and show God’s love and grace without associating with those of whom may be habitually practicing sin and walking on the unrighteous path? Sometimes, it takes actually building some type of relationship/friendship with a person in order for him/her to actually come to know Christ. It takes a certain level of consistency and devotion. I, for one, was deep in the world before I came to know Christ, and I didn’t come to know Him on my own. It was through a Christian friend who, though he disagreed with every aspect of my way of life, continued to pursue a friendship with me. You said, “If you are a follower of God and you fellowship with those who practice sin, it would be wise of you to disassociate yourself from them. You are not only disobeying God but allowing yourself to be corrupted by those people. I don’t care if they call themselves Christians – stay away from them.” If we as Christians are away from them, how can they ever come to truly know Christ?

    1. We’re led by the Spirit to those who need to hear the gospel outside of the Church.

      This article is specifically talking about false brethren, fake Christians, and rebellious church people; these are who we are to avoid.

      Back to my first point, even though God leads us to preach the gospel to sinners, some of them he prohibts us from speaking to because they’re already lost.

      Christians who randomly preach the gospel to whomever are not in the Spirit and won’t be effective. We must be led by the Spirit when distributing the message of reconciliation.

      Jesus ate with the sinners, but they were with him because they wanted relief from their sins and to hear about the kingdom; these are the people God leads us to in the world, those ready for real change.

      As for so-called Christians who act like the world with no repentance, we must stay away from them.