Shun (verb): persistently avoid, ignore, or reject (someone or something) through antipathy or caution
Synonyms: avoid, evade, eschew, steer clear of, shy away from, fight shy of, keep one’s distance from, give a wide berth to, have nothing to do with
It came in the recent time of assault, a season of tremendous attack. After suffering for a week, I finally spilled it out with words and with tears to my husband.
Longsuffering, he is. Compassionate, too, and after he listened, he talked to me straight. He took me back to his own season of torment. His own march through Death Valley, and he told me where he’d finally arrived.
“I finally said, ‘This is enough. I’m not going to fight this stuff any more. The battle’s not mine, it’s His.’ And then I absolutely refused to allow it in. Whenever it (the hurt, resentment, bitterness, uncertainty, anything negative that robbed him of peace) came, I rejected it out of hand. And I would say, ‘This is not my battle.’”
Being a “why” and “wherefore” and “I have to know how it works” kind of girl, I pressed him, picking his brain, presenting “what if’s,” stirring around in the nuts and the bolts of it. Then he said, “I think the fear (doubt, worry, anxiety, etc.) that you have is your flesh. It’s your particular temptation. It’s not enough to just stand on truth. You have to reject the flesh (i.e., evil). It takes both.”
I took it all in and chewed on it. Then, as often happens, in my daily reading came this verse with a new bit of light: “Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun (turn entirely away from) evil (Prov. 3:7).”
To shun. Turn away from. Persistently avoid, ignore, or reject.
My mind went back to earlier days when we’d left the conservative Mennonite church. What a dark and painful time it had been. What a lonely and difficult place. It was then that we’d experienced a different kind of shunning, the kind that a human can give. To another.
We knew that we’d not walked away from Christ, but someone we loved saw it differently. And shunned us. For a very, very long time.
Turned away. Persistently avoided, ignored and rejected. It brought death.
Looking back from a lot of years out, the sting’s not so sharp any more. We’ve forgiven. But now, this kind of shunning…
To turn away every time fear hints. Every suggestion, every trigger, every offer. Turn away.
Every time anxiety comes, or worry or doubt. Persistently avoid it. Ignore it. Reject it.
And imagination unsanctified, what about that? “Fight shy of, give a wide berth to, have nothing to do with.” Aha!
In the aftermath of a struggle, this little light’s breaking, and I’m mustering my energy to do it. “Shun evil.” It brings life.
I don’t know what your besetting sin is. I can’t know your struggle. Can’t name your addiction or fear. But you can. And now, it’s time that you shun it as well.
Turn away. Reject it. Ignore it. Avoid it. Keep your distance, a wide berth. Be relentless.
“It shall be health to your body, to your nerves and sinews, and nourishment (moistening) to your bones (Prov. 3:8).”
Ah, so this–this kind of shunning brings life. Real life to your physical body. To your mind.
That’s the kind that I want.
I want life.
Warmly on this Friday,