The Truth in Love; Should we Profit from Evil Possessions?
Last week my wife, 21 year old son, and I were at couple’s home to give them an estimate on building a bathroom. They were trying to make a decision on whether to build a bathroom in an unfinished space of their home, remodel an existing bathroom to fit laundry, or move to a larger town.
The couple is in their 80’s. In the course of the conversation, the husband mentioned that he had Playboy Magazine that he wanted to sell or give away. He asked me if I knew anyone who would be interested. He also mentioned that he, himself hadn’t looked at them in a long time. However, he wanted to get them out of the space before we would start on his project, due to my sons.
How would you respond, as a Believer being in this situation? What would Yehovah call us to do?
Below is what Yehovah led me to write, in a respectful manner. This man goes to Church and would claim to be a Christian.
Dear Mr. Doe,
Last week, when my wife, son, and I were at your house; you brought up your collection of Playboy Magazines. You talked about selling them, or giving them away to someone. You also mentioned that you hadn’t looked at them in years.
First, I’d like to say, this letter is written in a respectful tone, as it can be hard to tell in a letter. You are an older man than I, and I mean no disrespect at all.
Our conversation about these magazines has been on my mind since that day. I wanted to share with you my thoughts.
It is common for people to think that there is nothing wrong with looking. However, God’s Word says in
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
You see, if we look at a woman to lust with her, God says it is the same thing as committing adultery.”
Although we may not have done something in a long time, time does not forgive sin. We must acknowledge, confess, ask for forgiveness, and turn away from our sin. God is faithful to forgive us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” 1 John 1:9
After we do this, we then have a responsibility to dispose of those items. If we sell them to someone, we are causing them to sin, while making money in the process. If you give them away, you aren’t making a profit, but still causing them to sin. If you recycle them; one- it’s not worth recycling and two- it could still cause someone to sin as someone who comes after you might see them and take them home.
When one of my son’s was younger, I sent him to take our recycling. He put in our recycling, and guess what someone else recycled that he saw?
That’s right! Those pictures are burned in his mind forever. It’s not something that is easy to get out of a person’s head. The only place for a magazine like that, is for it to be burned and destroyed.
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6
When I became a Believer, the Holy Spirit showed me that the movies, music, and several other things I had in my possession were against Him. My first thought was to have a yard sale and sell all of those things. I didn’t want them anymore, and I didn’t see the harm. Then, God taught me His truth about causing others to stumble.
“No man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in [his] brother’s way.”
So- I didn’t have a yard sale. Instead I ended up burning all those things. I wanted to have a clear conscience with God. Because I know that I will face Him someday, we all will.
I had a decision to make, to profit off of sinful things, God had showed me were so, or to obey His Word because I love Him. He tells us
“If you love me you will obey what I command.” John 14:15
Yehoshua was asked
Matthew 22: 36-39 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
And He replied:
“ Thou shalt love Yehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
This was my heart, in getting rid of my sinful items, not profiting off of them, or giving them to someone else to cause them to sin. I wanted to love God first, and then my neighbor. I am not saying I am perfect, and never would claim to be. I do, as a believing man, seek to obey what God shows me because I love and want to live for Him. And He wants us to speak the truth in love, and share His ways with others.
It may be that you’d never though of this situation like this before. Since last week, this has continued to be on my heart and mind. I had to share the Truth of God’s Word with you. This way, you can make a decision about this, and live with that decision. Just as you do about the bathroom.
Update: A Few Months Later………
I wanted to share an update on “Mr. Doe”. It had been several months since I had sent the letter to him. We received a call from him recently. He was calling because in our local newspaper there was an ad for 50 years of magazines for sale. The same type of magazines, I had written him the letter about.
He wanted me to know, that it was not him who was selling the magazines. After this call, he also shared that he had not found an outlet to burn the magazines because he could not burn in the area he lived in. He shared that it was his heart to be rid of the magazines and to burn them, not causing someone else to sin. Praise the Lord, for good fruit!
He made arrangements for them to be burnt, without causing someone else to sin. They are history, they have been burnt, never to defile anyone again! He shared how relieved he was, in his conscience, to have them out of his possession and know they no longer existed.
I ask you, are you scared to speak to others about such things? Do you love people enough to tell them the truth, no matter what the stake? Not worrying about, what they think about you. If they will hire you in the future to work for them. If they will speak evil of you to others.
In this situation, my conscience is clear because I shared the truth in love with this man. His is also clear because he received the gentle rebuke, chose to honor God, and was found a wise man. Him and I also still have a good relationship as a result.
“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee:
rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Give instruction to a wise man,
and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man,
and he will increase in learning.”
This man could have sold this collection of books for a large profit, instead he chose to honor God and put him first. Just as the believers did in the Book of Acts:
“Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Acts 19:19
I shared a similar letter with “Mr Doe 2” as I shared with “Mr. Doe”, as he is an acquaintance of mine as well.