In the old days, preachers called on those who brought “shame and reproach upon the church” to repent. Though it may sound “old-fashioned,” Christians, and especially preachers, must still be keenly aware of what we say and do. The writer of Hebrews wrote about those who fall away and thus “…crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6). The ESV seems to capture the intent of the last phrase quite well in translating it, “…holding him up to contempt.” We must face it, our actions either bring glory to or reflect negatively upon our Lord and His body—the church.
Numerous are the passages that make it clear one can say and do things that would cause others to view Christ and all that pertains to Him unfavorably. Peter wrote of false prophets and false teachers and said, “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of (2 Peter 2:2). Paul told Timothy, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Timothy 5:14).
Brother Winkler illustrated his point in the following way. He said, “Suppose a business partner drinks or does some other objectionable acts and business begins to fall off. When confronted by his business partner the wrongdoer responds, ‘It’s really none of your business!’” Brother Winkler then asked, “Would you agree that it was none of the business partner’s business?” The obvious answer is that it is the business partner’s business since he is being hurt by the actions of the other. In the same manner (and even with more far-reaching consequences), Christ and His family, are hurt when one does that which he ought not.
We should ask ourselves if the church is precious enough to us that we are willing to live so that we do not bring shame and reproach upon it. It should be that precious! When it is, we will understand we must not do that which will bring shame and reproach to it.