Enter not into the path of the wicked…Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away– Proverbs 4:14-15
Have you ever been stuck in slow-moving traffic, only to discover finally that the entire delay was caused by people rubber-necking an accident on the other side of the highway? If so, didn’t you wish afterward that you could have caught the traffic report that morning on the radio and avoided the scene altogether?
Similarly, Solomon writes to his son to encourage him to altogether avoid situations that could potentially entangle him in sin. The best approach, Solomon says, is to avoid the scene of wickedness altogether.
However, if you do have to engage such an environment (e.g. at work, at home, in the barracks), this wise father counsels: don’t be guilty of “rubber-necking” the sin around you. Avoid it, don’t go near it, get away from it as quickly as you can.
The magazine rack at the supermarket, with provocative poses on almost every cover? Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. The flirty co-worker at the office? Avoid him, pass not by her, turn from the temptation as quickly as possible and go on your way. The same wisdom applies to ungodly classmates, illicit entertainment, or unhealthy atmospheres.
Will others think you're strange for so conscientiously avoiding sinful distractions and potential shipwrecks for your faith? Yes, especially if they are rushing headlong toward it themselves. But Solomon is not concerned with what others think—he is concerned about you!
Dear child, Solomon encourages, if you are caught up in any sin or temptation, turn from it immediately and change your path. There is no shame in repentance, but there is nothing but shame in the way of sin.