When it comes to caring about outward appearances, it seems like there are two main camps. 1. I care way too much about what everyone else thinks of me. 2. I don’t care at all about what others think of me. This causes some interesting conflicts in homes, such as “you can’t seriously be planning on leaving the house wearing THAT,” and “for the hundredth time – you look great! Let’s go.”
Now I get that some people overthink it in the looks department, but what about when it comes to actions? Do we put any thought into how our actions might be perceived by others? Nehemiah thought we should.
Nehemiah 5:9 So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?
Here’s what was going on in this situation: The Jewish people were treating each other poorly. They were enslaving each other both physically and financially. Their actions toward one another did not reflect the heart of God. So Nehemiah stepped in and brought correction. And to drive his point home, he said this: “This isn’t right! My goodness, people who don’t believe in God are watching. Let’s have some respect for God and get this right.”
As Christians we do the same thing that the Jews in the book of Nehemiah were doing. We act in a way that isn’t a very good representation of the heart of God. Oh, but we excuse our very ungodly actions by quoting scriptures like “but the Lord looks at the heart!” Okay, I can agree that the Lord looks at the heart. But your coworker can’t see your heart; he can only see your actions.
So shape up Christians. Ask the Lord who sees your heart to change it so that godliness can make it all the way to your skin. Ask Him to change your thoughts so that godliness will make it to your tongue. Those who don’t know Him are watching and listening. We have the opportunity to show them who He is through our actions.