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What Does the Bible Say About..Having to Associate With Hypocrites?

Is it ok to not hang out with certain Christians? I mean we are to follow those who are following Christ. What if I feel that certain people are not following Christ they way the bible says? They sit on the fence and say they are Christians but really they way they behave and what comes out of their mouth contradicts what the Bible says how a Christian should act. I am a new Christian and I want to make sure I am pleasing God and I feel that I need an example to go by but everyone that I have met and tried to develop a relationship with doesn't seem to be right with what the Bible teaches. Am I being too uptight? Too judgemental? I just want to make sure that I am following Christ. Reading the Bible is overwhelming and hard. I have been asking my new family to help me but they are too busy with stuff that really doesn't matter. Should I try and find another congregation?


Christians regularly associate with non-Christians, and even wicked people, because we live in the world. If we associate with infidels, why not with Christians who may not be living as well as they should? If we set ourselves up as judges of who is perfect and who is not, then we will end up living in a cave somewhere in the Canadian Rockies.

Paul clearly says that when a person walks disorderly by not working for a living or being a busybody, Christians are to withdraw from them (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 11-15). Those that are greedy we are to withdraw from (1 Timothy 6:5). He advises the Corinthians not to have company with or eat with anyone who is "a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner" (1 Corinthians 5:11). The stated purpose of such actions is not primarily punishment, but salvation-"that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus;" (1 Corinthians 5:5) and "that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15) Paul even had to remind the Corinthian church that they were obligated to take such a one back as soon as he repented "lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." (2 Corinthians 2:6-7) Two things to note in all of these instances. First, they are very specific about which sins one must continually commit in order for a congregation to stop associating with them. Second, this is on a congregational basis, not individual, and only after other attempts to teach the person their error have failed.

I, of course, do not mean to say that we should not have our own special friends. Even Jesus had a small group that he associated with more than others. However, a Christian should want to associate with other Christians in general. He should encourage and be encouraged by others. That is the point of Hebrews 10:24-25. "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting [encouraging] one another."

If the Christians you know do not seem to you to be right with what the Bible teaches, and are too busy to help you, then perhaps you do need to find a different congregation. I have known congregations that seemed to adopt a "dunk 'em and kick 'em out the back door" attitude; who felt that once they baptized someone they did not have the responsibility to teach them more of God's word. If what they teach is not what the Bible teaches, and if other congregations wearing the same name teach the same things, then perhaps you need to find a group that calls themselves by a different name. I assure you from experience that even the most scriptural congregation will have those who appear indifferent or even hostile to parts of the Bible. If you do search for a new congregation, one question you might want to ask is whether they have classes for new Christians. If they do, you know for sure that they care what happens to you.