The Apostle Paul Says We Don’t Have to Boycott Target

Just about every six months or so, there is some group calling on all Christians to boycott company X or company Y, because the company supports some ungodly cause. For some, the boycott is cathartic in that it gives them the sense that they are doing something about the evil that persists in the world. But the reality for the believer is that we can still shop at Target, Starbucks, and even attend football games put on by the NCAA without damaging our witness as believers. There is no need to have our consciences bound by these new calls for righteousness, especially since our righteousness comes from Christ alone, not our boycotts of the wicked.

We can come to this position through three passages, two from the Apostle Paul and one from Christ’s own words. First Paul’s words on the matter. The first passage that Paul helps us come to this truth is found in 1 Corinthians 5, where he is dealing with the church’s failure to disciple a wicked and unrepentant brother in their midst. He tells us not to keep company with sexually immoral people but then clarifies: Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

Paul calls on us to separate ourselves from believers who practice sexually immorality, but not from those in the world because we would not be able to function if we separated ourselves from the world. This shows us that we can shop in the world, buy and sell from sinners, etc. The standard of separation comes inside the body of Christ, not outside the body of Christ.

We must realize that if we were to investigate every corporation, every small business owner, every service that we employ, looking under every stone, we would find evil and wickedness with ALL of them, including Chick Fil-A and Hobby Lobby. These latter two companies probably do not support causes that we disagree with, but they do employ sinners who do. At what level would we have to remove ourselves from using a company, and still be actually honest in the endeavor? What I mean by this is that all corporations are sinful and fall short of God’s glory. We should hold Chick Fil-A and Hobby Lobby to a higher standard, but the rest of them are wicked and evil from the get go, in the truest sense. All it takes for us to be truly wicked is to have an evil heart of unbelief  (Hebrews 3:12). This is all it takes for us to be disqualified and judged by God as wicked and evil.

Given that reality, every corporation out there allows this wickedness to manifest itself in one way or another. True, we do not want to support companies who’s purpose is evil in nature, like Planned Parenthood, but we are free to shop at companies that are in the business of providing our daily bread even when they use their proceeds for evil intent.

We also get a hint of this truth when Paul is dealing with the issue of serving meat that was sacrificed to idols. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul shows us that the only time we need to worry about eating meat sacrificed to idols is when the person serving it, announces that it was sacrificed to idols. In verses 27-32, Paul says that we should not eat of the meat for the sake of the one who spoke, and for their conscience sake. It’s not for our conscience sake since we have the freedom to eat of meat sacrificed to idols “for the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” We have the liberty to eat the meat, but do not do so for the sake of the one serving it.

Finally, we also see this principal in the words coming from our LORD, when He proclaimed: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Don’t think for a moment that Christ did not know the wickedness of the Roman Empire. He knew of the slavery, the wars, the idolatry, the immorality, the orgies, the children being killed by their parents because they did not want another daughter, and a host of other sins. He knew that the taxes given to Rome would be used to support all these evils, yet He still commanded us to give unto Caesar.

We are to be faithful in paying our taxes even when the government is using those taxes for an unjust cause. We see the same truth when the widow gives her mites to the temple. Christ knew the leadership was corrupt, but still commends her for being faithful to God’s calling.

The point is that what corporations and our government does with the money we render, through taxes and commerce, is on their heads, not ours. Christ will deal with the wicked. God specifically says: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”

We need to trust Him at His word, and ask ourselves: “are we really willing to trust God to deal with the wicked as He has promised us that He will? Or do we feel the need to exact our own ounce of justice in the matter?”

Christ does not hold us accountable for how our taxes are used or how the profits are used by corporations. He knows more clearly than we do, of their evil intent and schemes. Christ wants us to live our lives for His glory in all things and trust in Him. This is why Paul concludes the passage on sacrificed meat with the following words:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Therefore feel free to shop at Target, or Starbucks. By doing so, you can also know that those companies, while evil in their intent, are also being used by God to support and provide for fellow believers.


2 thoughts on “The Apostle Paul Says We Don’t Have to Boycott Target

  1. Excellent points. Re-publish this at every major boycott, please! We definitely don’t have to boycott them. And it doesn’t diminish your witness.

    That said, I’ve enjoyed not supporting Target because they made it so clear how much contempt they have for me. But I never press that on others as some sort of Christian obligation.

    And I do think there is a “love your neighbor” element at play here. If I love my neighbors I don’t want females subjected to men in bathrooms, which is why I don’t plan on giving any money to the NCAA, NBA, NFL, etc. Politics is about deciding who gets power, and I want to do what I can to help it be used more ethically.

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  2. I don’t shop at Target or Starbucks, for more practical reasons than a boycott. While yes, I have concerns for the safety of my wife, daughters, and granddaughters at Target, they also have better selection and pricing at other stores. However my main reason for going to Target in the first place was their pharmacy, which they turned over to CVS who now does not accept Tricare, the health and medical program of the Uniform services. It’s a matter of principal: I do not do business with companies that turn their backs on our veterans. And since I do not do business with their pharmacy, I really have no reason to go there.

    As for Starbucks – $6 for a mediocre cup of coffee? Seriously? I’ll wait until they open a Tim Hortons in the area.


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