by Eric Rank
The Bible reminds us that we need not fear what others think about us. We have only God to fear. Yet, the Bible also instructs us against becoming stumbling blocks to others by our behavior.
When we tell others that we are Christians, how do they respond? Do they nod as if to finally understand the things we do? Or do they become confused because our behavior doesn’t match the true virtues of Christianity? As Christians, we are called to hold ourselves to a higher standard — God’s standard of life. Certainly, some people we come in contact with fall short of understanding the full richness of this way of life, but they probably have the ability to discern some aspects of Christian virtue. The virtues of love and kindness towards others might be the most dominant and pervasive of those known to most people. Do people we come in contact with see these virtues in us, or are they caused to stumble — perhaps discarding Christianity as a whole because of the hypocrisy they might see?
Even though it is important to remember that other people’s judgment is nothing compared to God’s judgment, we must realize that we are here in this life, answering God’s call, as ambassadors of God. The most difficult part about being a Christian is making our actions match our beliefs. We are setting an example to the world around us of God’s way of life. If people see contradictions between what we do and what we believe, it not only reflects poorly upon our character, but more importantly, we let down God. Since we sit as lamps on a lamp-stand to the world around us, the gaps between belief and action are much more visible.
The most difficult thing I have done, and will ever do, is to continuously commit my life to God. By answering this calling, not only do I have a new standard to live up to, but I have a job to do in representing God’s way of life. Certainly, this is a challenge, but the God promises that the reward is great.