Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. Psalms 1:1,2 TLB
These two verses have caused some confusion in Christian circles, and mostly because the first verse is rendered in the KJV as: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Can you see the difference of emphasis in each version?
Some read this Psalm as an excuse to avoid the contact and friendship of sinners, while forgetting that we are all sinners in the sight of a Holy God. It can then follow that we only seek out the good and pure as our chosen circle of friends and shut out the rest. There are denominations that set themselves up as ‘separate’ from the rest of the world, whether Christian or not. Others will actively seek out their own inner circle of confidants to the expense of their own ability to witness and minister to the fallen and hurting.
We certainly should not ‘follow evil men’s advice’ or ‘hang around with sinners scoffing at the things of God’ but there is nothing that suggests we should separate ourselves from them completely. Otherwise how can we live up to the great commission of reaching the world with the saving gospel of Jesus? Let’s use all the resources at our disposal to rightly divide and discern the Word of God’s truth, and not fall into the convenient trap of interpreting verses to suit our own thinking.