Are we actually morally called to shun people?

the bible has some very suggestive passages seeming to point in that direction

St. Paul - 1 COR 5 11-13 But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within? God will judge those outside. “Purge the evil person from your midst.”

St. Paul - 2 TIM 3:1-5 But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them.

just a couple examples, there are more but you probably get the point

I thought we wer supposed to reach out to people though and always help them see what they are doing is wrong, even if they don’t listen and it was important to establish relationships, how does rejection really help? there are some other passages which suggest this too, so I’m confused

I know, context is important when reading the bible, but this seems pretty evident.

am I missing something?

The Bible is telling us to avoid people that would be an occasion of sin for us due to their sinful behavior. We are supposed to try and admonish sinners, but this doesn’t require us establishing a relationship with them or hanging out with them as friends.

what if we wer strong enough in our faith that they aren’t occasions for us?

I really don’t think trying to admonish sinners as strangers is going to be very effective

If they would not prove to be a temptation to us nor would we cause scandal by hanging out with them, then there is nothing wrong with being friends with them. Although, I don’t think we should make friends with people just so we can admonish them.

no, that’s certainly not what I was suggesting

or it could be family members, for example, I don’t think any parent would shun their child even if they were committing sins, would they?

maybe there’s more about the specific audience paul was writing to that isn’t clear to us

You asked this exact question on the forums about a month ago, and the answer you got was generally, “no, the Bible doesn’t tell us to shun people.” :shrug:

St. Paul - 1 COR 5 11-13 But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within? God will judge those outside. “Purge the evil person from your midst.”

Look at the context in 1 Cor 5 – Paul asks them to disassociate themselves with a man who is committing incest. But, then look at 2 Cor 2 – many interpret this call for clemency as the follow-up to 1 Cor 5. In other words, the ‘shunning’ (or excommunication) wasn’t meant as a permanent state of affairs, but only a means to incent the man to repent.

St. Paul - 2 TIM 3:1-5 But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them.

There’s a difference between rejecting someone who sins and shunning them… wouldn’t you say?

The idea that you can be around bad people and not be influenced by them is possible in theory, but is very hard to do in reality. Especially if you’re spending a lot of time around them. If you expose yourself to evil long enough, eventually you’ll become desensitized to it and start joining in on it yourself. And, if you are strong enough to resist their temptations, often times they’ll turn on you for not joining in and they won’t listen to what good you have to say anyways. Most of the time, when people are seriously caught up in bad lifestyles, they don’t want to change, let alone being preached to that they need to change. At least that’s been my experience.

As Christians, we are called to love everyone. Sometimes, the best way we can actually show someone love is to not surround ourselves with them to send them a strong message that we don’t agree with their immoral choices.

I didn’t think so, please enlighten me

I’m not saying constantly surround ourselves with bad people, but we do have to deal with certain people sometimes, family, for example

If we have to see such a person, we are called to acknowledge him, that is say hello. We are not obligated to spend lots of time with him because he could be a bad influence.

This is a good question, because we might be wrong (that is, commit a sin) if we do either the one (shun) or the other (not shun).

I think we have to back off when people are hurting us in any way. We don’t have to be a “rug” for somebody to wipe their feet on. I recall that Mother Angelica said this once on EWTN, and the late Fr. Benedict Groeschel said the same thing, on a separate occasion.

If someone is leading us into sin, we must turn back from committing that sin.

I’m not saying it was right or wrong for me, but I had to basically shun a relative of mine who was acting very immature towards me, when he was younger. I had to use “distance” to inform him that I didn’t appreciate his juvenile criticisms, etc. Now, decades later, we are on better terms, even though I still see that immature streak in his personality.

“Shun” is a strong word and has some specific meanings in non-Catholic religions. It can mean cutting off all contacts permanently with one’s family, for example. When I use the word “shun” here, I’m merely talking about avoiding certain person, for objective reasons. I may have to “avoid” somebody with incredibly bad breath or body odor, but I have to be careful about not hurting them or offending them, if I do.

I try to avoid people who talk out loud in church before Mass.

I don’t think “shunning” people is altogether consistent with the faith, you have to be very careful about it. Be sure to give people the benefit of the doubt.

that’s always been my understanding of shun or reject, cut off all contact

At least some people should hypothetically be shunned. For example, if someone was actively hunting for you to kill you, you ought to shun them. And you would have a moral responsibility to do due diligence not to let them get you, both for reasons of self-preservation and for your enemy’s sake: by shunning him or her, you prevent him or her from committing the sin of murder.

As to drunkards who claim to be Christian, the idea that we have to shun them seems not to follow from the passages you have quoted. At least not necessarily. The second passage says “reject them.” Rejecting someone is not the same as shunning them because it depends on what you are rejecting them at. It doesn’t say “Reject them in all things.” That would sometimes be immoral. For example, if a drunkard wanted to come to therapy to get out of his drunkenness, therapists must not reject them. Therefore, the passage does not imply that drunkards should be rejected in All things, but only in Some things. Since it doesn’t specify which things we should shun them in, we cannot infer that it refers to shunning them socially unless we have evidence.

The first passage says not to associate with Christians who do those bad things and not to eat with them. This one Seems more like social shunning, but that’s not necessarily what it means. Since it is written to a Catholic church, it is possible that the words “associate” and “eat with” have a meaning informed by first century Church-speak. Not eating with them may mean not admitting them to the Eucharist. Not associating with them may mean excommunicating them. Thus, the passage does not necessarily imply that individual Christians must avoid public sinners socially. It may mean that Christian churches must not let unrepentant sinners have the Sacraments.

I thought we wer supposed to reach out to people though and always help them see what they are doing is wrong, even if they don’t listen and it was important to establish relationships, how does rejection really help?

Rejection from some things can be medicinal. When you tell someone that they cannot have the Eucharist, that can help them see that they have something to repent of.

there are some other passages which suggest this too, so I’m confused

Quote them and we’ll look at them in context.

One minor “regret” I have in my life is that, for the most part, people have always behaved themselves when I’m around.

I’m 48 years old. I’ve never seen a real life fistfight. Was never around underage drinking. Was never around illicit drug use but for one or two times that totaled all of 15 minutes or so. Never saw a friend(s) skip school. Never saw a friend(s) play “spin the bottle.” Through two years of grad school I never knew about the shenanigans that were going on amongst my friends until after graduation.

I’m starting to think there’s something wrong with me that causes people to be boring when I’m around. :confused::wink:

In other words, people don’t give me a reason to shun them. :shrug:

You are very blessed then. :slight_smile:

Some verses to consider on this point:

Jesus - MT 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Jesus - REV 2:5-6 “Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. But you have this in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

Jesus - REV 2:14-16 "Yet I have a few things against you. You have some people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to put a stumbling block before the Israelites: to eat food sacrificed to idols and to play the harlot. Likewise, you also have some people who hold to the teaching of [the] Nicolaitans. Therefore, repent. Otherwise, I will come to you quickly and wage war against them with the sword of my mouth.

Jesus - REV 2:19-21 " Yet I hold this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, who teaches and misleads my servants to play the harlot and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her harlotry. So I will cast her on a sickbed and plunge those who commit adultery with her into intense suffering unless they repent of her works.

St. Paul - ROM 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.

St. Paul - 1 COR 5:1-2 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

St. Paul - 1 COR 5 11-13 But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within? God will judge those outside. “Purge the evil person from your midst.”

St. Paul - 2 COR 6:14-18 Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers. For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?

St. Paul - EPH 5:6-8 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

St. Paul - 2 THES 3:14 If anyone does not obey our word as expressed in this letter, take note of this person not to associate with him, that he may be put to shame.

St. Paul - 2 TIM 3:1-5 But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them.

St. Paul - TITUS 3: 10-11 After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned.

St. John - 2 JN 9-11 Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.

St. Jude - JUDE 17-23 But you, beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they told you, “In [the] last time there will be scoffers who will live according to their own godless desires.” These are the ones who cause divisions; they live on the natural plane, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. On those who waver, have mercy; save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.

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