Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither–
whatever they do prospers.
Normally, I get a little bit queasy whenever Scripture starts mentioning “the wicked.” It’s no secret that I’m a grace person rather than a truth person, which I think is a desperate attempt to compensate for the legalism of my past. Admittedly, I cringe when I read “the wicked,” because I would hate for someone to read that and assume that God doesn’t love them, labeling them as a evil with a broad stroke.
But, as always, when I sit down to my journaling Bible with a pen in hand, I pay better attention and realize there’s far more to see and consider than I initially realized. I’ve come to understand that there’s more for me to learn when I stop asking, “What would other people think if they read this?” and ask, “What does God want to say to me today?” And when I asked that question, I found myself reading these 3 brief verses over and over and over again, because they had so much to say.
I’d like to think that I’m not someone who “walks in step with the wicked.” I’d like to think that I pursue justice and mercy and humility: after all, I sponsor a kid and I shop local and I don’t cuss (except for, admittedly, the one 4 letter word I tend to say when I get scared for cut off in traffic) and I try to be nice to people. Walking I understand. It implies action, participation, movement in a certain direction.
But you know what? David doesn’t say I only need to avoid walking with the wicked.
I’m not even supposed to sit in their company. Even my passivity can implicate me in their schemes.
I’m wondering: where am I sitting in the company of wickedness? What areas of my life are ruled by passivity and apathy and ignorance, separating me in some way from the building of God’s kingdom?
When I consider those questions, I know, deep down and with conviction, that YES—I choose passivity often.
- I don’t pay much attention to where my clothes are manufactured or by whom, almost always choosing cheap over ethical.
- I eat chocolate and drink coffee without consideration for the men and women (or, God forbid, children) who harvested it.
- When grocery shopping, I normally choose convenience and affordability over sustainability.
- I pay lots of attention to non-profits and organizations doing good work around the world, but I rarely participate, donate, or engage.
And so I wonder: am I complicit?
When Jesus was walking and talking among us, He did not sit around with His fisherman friends philosophizing and pontificating on the injustice and depravity of the world around them. No. He was a man of action. He walked among those who needed to know they are loved, He embraced the ignored and despised. He had dinner with sinners. He healed and comforted and served.
I’m recognizing that my complacency is as meaningful as blatantly walking in the wrong direction. I’m sitting in the company of the wicked, not necessarily intentionally participating but doing little to slow the tide of evil or destruction or injustice.