King David was a man who loved God. He wrote many of the Psalms in which we see his dependence upon the Lord, his desire to please Him, and his faith and trust in the Almighty. But the Bible also tells us about his failures. One of his greatest failures was when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and she became pregnant with his child (see 2 Samuel 11 and 12). Bathsheba’s husband was Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s mighty warriors. David sent for Uriah to come back to Jerusalem from the battlefront in the hopes that Uriah would sleep with his wife so that he might think that the child she bore was his. But Uriah did not go to his house and sleep with his wife. So, David sent Uriah back to the war with a note to the army commander to cause Uriah to be killed in battle. After Uriah died, David took Bathsheba to be his wife. The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David. Nathan told the story of two men, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds, but the poor man had only one little ewe lamb that was like a daughter to him. A traveler came to the rich man. Instead of feeding the traveler from his many flocks and herds, the rich man took the lamb from the poor man to prepare a meal for the traveler. When David heard this story, he was greatly angered and said that the rich man who did this should die and make restitution to the poor man. Nathan told David that he was the man in the story. David had taken Uriah’s wife and caused him to be killed. 2 Samuel 12:13-14 “So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’” Everyone knew that David trusted in the Lord. When he committed adultery and killed Uriah, his actions gave great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme Him.
Just as the sinful actions of King David gave occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, your sinful actions can cause the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. People know that you are a Christian; they are watching you to see your actions. When they see you acting in a non-Christian way, it gives them occasion to speak against the way of Christ and gives them justification for their sinful actions. Why should they ever want to become a Christian when they see Christians acting in sinful ways?
Years ago, I had several employees who were members of a large, worldwide church. Some of these employees were good, hardworking individuals. But two stand out in my mind. One was unproductive – never seemed to accomplish much of anything. The other falsified thousands of dollars in travel expenses. It was easy to transfer these wrongs to the church that they represented. And so it can be concerning you and me. People are looking at us to see if we practice the true principles of Jesus Christ. It should be obvious to them that we are Christians. But if they see laziness, lying, bad language, selfishness, sexual impurity, off color jokes, materialism, or any of a number of other sins, it will first of all reflect on us that we are hypocrites – that we don’t practice what we preach. But it will also reflect upon God, Jesus our Savior, and the Church. Romans 2:21-24 “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ as it is written.” God rightfully deserves glory, honor, and praise. But our actions can cause people to speak evil of Him and to blaspheme Him. Why would these people want to submit to God and accept Jesus as their Savior when it is obvious that his followers do undesirable things?
False Christian teachers can cause people to blaspheme the way of truth. 2 Peter 2:1-2 “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” Over the years, there have been famous preachers who have committed adultery, misused donated funds, or committed other sins. Churches in various places have done terrible things in the name of Christianity. These have given occasion for non-Christians to speak ill of God and the way of truth.
The apostle Peter gave a strong admonition to his fellow Christians to be careful how they lived their lives. 1 Peter 2:11-15 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” We should submit to the governing authorities even if we do not approve of their actions. By having our conduct honorable and by doing good instead of evil, we put to silence the enemies of Christ.
People in the world are watching you. I encourage you to live an honorable life so that they will have no reason to criticize your words or your actions. Do not give anyone an occasion to blaspheme God because of your sinful actions.