So, last night my wife and I laid in bed for 3 hours listening to what we thought was a woman screaming at the top of her voice next door. We finally figured out that “she” was drunk and thought it was awesome to hear her own voice echo across the 50 acre lake in our backyard. Turns out it was a drunk man; but that’s not the point. As I lay there contemplating the best way to respond – screaming from the back porch, calling the cops, or going over there and pleading my case, a million thoughts went through my mind. Scenario, after scenario played through my head as often times they do. I thought, if I go over there I may end up regretting what I say. Then, other thoughts continued to barrage my brain. You know how your mind can wander. What if they ask me if I want a beer? My sub-conscience answered, “I’m a Christian, I don’t drink.” In my head their response was, “We are Christian’s too, come have a beer.” I realized I was being judgmental in my thinking… wasn’t I?
It amazes me when people use words like judgmental or legalistic. The fact is, Christians are called to a higher standard. We aren’t supposed to drink ourselves into a stupor to the point where we are screaming across a lake at midnight. I used to sing in a Christian metal band and we were known as “the guys who don’t drink.” In the music scene that’s a big deal. We decided that if people saw us with a brew, they would automatically assume it was our fifth, not our first and only. Which means what? That drinking a beer is a sin? I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that it kills your testimony. If a non-Believer saw me at a bar on saturday night nursing a beer and then decided the next morning they’d try out this new church and there I was playing guitar on stage, what would be the first word that came to their mind? Hypocrite. Why? Cause I had one beer? No, because they’d assume I was out “drinking” the night before.
The first of the best three ways to kill your testimony is public drinking.
The second is smoking – AGAIN, I’m not calling this a sin or labeling a smoker a sinner. I am talking about the best way to kill your Christian testimony.
A great friend of mine was a smoker until two years ago. I got on his case hard about smoking because it causes others to think you’re “playing church.” We had quite a few heated discussions, but he finally quit for good (not only because of me… I won’t take full credit). About a year later he and I were at a church function and a guy we knew was smoking. My friend later told me that his thoughts were “what kind of a Christian smokes?” It was a sub conscience thought but it was there nonetheless. How powerful? A former smoker, who just a year earlier was arguing with me, is now understanding how the world views Christians who smoke. IT KILLS YOUR TESTIMONY! We can argue all day about whether or not it’s a sin. I’m not going to – I don’t care. What I do care about is whether you are effective in your efforts to bring people to the Lord. If people view you as a hypocrite, it’ll be impossible to lead them to Christ.
The last is language. This one most men struggle with. Eph 5:4 says, “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” I believe that 10/10 times this one falls under the category of sin. Obscene, coarse, vulgar language has no place in the Christian’s vocabulary. Will we slip up? Sure thing. Chances are a lot of us did today. But we need to constantly be on guard. James says that our tongue, like a rudder steers the mighty ship. The things that we say are heard loud and clear by those around us and they can never be taken back. I’d recently had it pointed out to me that a lot of people I know consider the word “freaking” to be foul. I’ve been trying to make it a point to weed the word out of my vocabulary even though I don’t agree. It is our job to be a good testimony and NOT be hypocritical.
I hope this was a blessing to someone. Pray on the things you’ve read.