We often sing, “O, be careful…” at Vacation Bible School. The verses implore us to be careful about what we see, hear, say, touch and where we go. To dismiss this as a simple kid’s song, would be to miss the depth of the message.
The song talks about the moral challenges we face in a sinful world. We all need to be attentive to how we handle ourselves morally in a world filled with spiritual dangers.
Instead of looking at all of the areas discussed in the song, we want to look at the first one, that being sight. We want to examine four areas where experienced Christians face dangers as we conduct ourselves in congregations of the Lord’s Church.
We need to be mature and sober in these areas, so we do not sabotage the Lord’s work in our communities.
First, we must not see the worst in our brethren. We do not know the intricacies or the challenges facing everyone who attends at our congregation.
Some brethren in Corinth assumed the worst motives for the Apostle Paul and caused him a lot of grief (2 Corinthians 2:12-3:3). He was trying to teach and remain focused, and distractions kept diverting their attention away from his goodness and tender heart (2 Corinthians 2:1-4; cf. Acts 20:28-31).
If this can happen to someone so accomplished, it can happen to any of us.
Added to the same body and household (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 2:19), we are family and we must be loving rather than adversarial.
We cannot see sins where they do not exist. This most often happens because we have elevated our methods and opinions to the level of doctrine and violating them is a heinous crime. This must not be!
Second, we must not see conspiracies. Suspicion in the Lord’s church is an accelerant and can burn down the entire body. We cannot have hidden agendas or develop paranoia where we see conspiracies everywhere. We must be kind, loving and focused on the Lord’s goals (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Third, we must not see our brethren as inferior. We cannot look down on our fellow Christians, as if we are better than they are. Sin sent all of us into the arms of the Savior (Romans 3:23). None of us is sinless, so we cannot stake our claim to superiority. We must be about love, not filled with unrighteous judging (1 John 4:7-11; Matthew 7:1-5).
Fourth, we must not see unrealistic expectations in our brethren. If we have been a Christian for decades, and we have matured through study and righteous living, we cannot expect a young Christian to be where we are. We need to be helping them grow and prosper rather than burdening them with heavy weights.
Those who are older may not have any idea how challenging the culture is to young people today. Arguably, no generation has had the obstacles that young people face today, with technologies magnifying all evil. We must be patient and loving to them.
If we exhibit a Christ-like spirit, we will not allow these weaknesses to creep into our spiritual lives. Yet, we all face temptations and we may be susceptible to any of these four. If so, fight them with God’s Word every day.