1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. - Psalm 1:1-2
As a biblical counselor, I’ve been asked two questions about this verse often. Are all unbelievers wicked? And if we are not to walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand with sinners, what do we do as believers who are married to unbelievers?
Whenever we have difficult questions like this, we need to go to scripture to find our answers. We know God fives wisdom generously to all who seek it, and we know His wisdom is always found in His Word.
For the first question, we know from multiple places that belief in Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. There is only one way to salvation, and that is through Jesus Christ. We are all wicked, but those of us who confess belief in Jesus have our wickedness covered by the blood of Jesus. God no longer sees our wickedness. But for those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior, God still sees their wickedness. So, the answer to the first question is yes, all unbelievers are wicked.
13 "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13-14
To find the answer to the second question, we can look at 1 Peter 3:1, where Peter specifically discusses marriage between a believer and a nonbeliever.
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, - 1 Peter 3:1
As wives, we are called to be subject to our husbands - even if they do not believe. God chooses the authority in our lives, and we are to submit to this authority. God chose your husband for you, and it honors God when you honor your husband. This is actually a path for leading him to believe in Jesus. You are called to live in unity with your husband, even if he does not believe. This verse clearly says we are to submit to our husbands even if they do not obey the Word. God is sovereign over the authority in our lives, so even if they are not obedient, He will still protect us if we are obedient to His Word.
So how do we put these two verses together and live in a marriage to an unbeliever? When one verse tells us not to seek counsel of the wicked, but the other tells us to submit to our non believing husbands? I don't think they necessarily conflict with one another and can live side by side in a marriage. You submit to your husband on issues of marriage, you seek counsel on the things that concern the two of you - finances, parenting, etc. But you must be cautious when his advice for your heart conflicts with scripture. For example, you've begun to feel God’s peace as you've started to lean into His Word every morning - because God has been convicting you to meditate on His Word. If your husband was to tell you that's ridiculous and you should stop - that is counsel you take with caution. You also know you need to spend time with fellow believers - if he was to tell you cannot, you would definitely need to discuss that counsel. Most importantly, I think when you are seeking counsel on any heart issue - how to deal with anxiety, fear, despair - you take these issues to a fellow believer. The advice your husband will give you in these circumstances will be most likely be worldly. I don't think it's wrong in these cases to go to your husband, but you will definitely want to take it to believers as well as compare the advice to scripture.
It can be challenging to live in this world with unbelievers. The closer they are to you in relation can bring greater challenges. But we can trust that God reigns sovereign even in these difficult situation. He is using you in those situation to bring His presence near. We shouldn’t avoid or run from those situations because it tells us not to seek counsel from them or sit with them. It just means we should not be asking them for advice for how to live our lives or make decisions. But we should remain in relation to them. We need to be sure to guard our hearts, not allowing the darkness of the world to over take us, but instead shining His light into the darkness.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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