You can’t afford to go backwards. You have too many people following you!
My pastor said these words this morning, and they seared my soul. We tend to think that what we do is our own business and only our own business. We think wrongly.
The Bible refers to us as being surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. We are. As Christians, we can never forget that we are being watched. We are being watched by those in the church. We are being watched by those in the world. But we are not merely being WATCHED. We are being FOLLOWED.
There are those who simply watch me, I’m sure, but there are others-often I don’t know who they are-who are watching me and following my example. If I’m walking in the right direction, setting them a good example, great. If I’m not, their blood may well be on my hands.
It’s a sobering thing to consider, this influence that we have. What if we consider something to be perfectly fine, but someone watching us believes it to be sin? Drinking is a good example here. Many Christians see nothing wrong with drinking while others consider it sin. If one who considers it sin is influenced by one who considers it not sin and chooses to drink, then in his own heart he has committed sin. Who is responsible for his sin?
Paul addresses this in 1 Cor. 8:10-13. His context is eating food offered to idols, but the principle remains. See, in particular, verses 12 and 13. [AMP]
And when you sin against your brethren in this way, wounding and damaging their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
Therefore, if [my eating a] food is a cause of my brother’s falling or of hindering [his spiritual advancement], I will not eat [such] flesh forever, lest I cause my brother to be tripped up and fall and to be offended.
I cannot afford to do anything but move onward, forward, with God. I truly can’t afford to go backwards, to backslide, to drag my feet-or even to do something that makes it appear that I am. If I do, and if in doing I lead others to do likewise, I can get myself in a heap of trouble.