Practicing What We Preach

What is wrong with our world today? I was cleaning out my files and ran across the following old quotes from some old articles. All of these quotes were written by the same preacher in the mid-to-late 70's. And though written more than 40 years ago, they serve to illustrate what’s wrong with our world today.

Venereal disease is epidemic in the land. Homes are decaying and marriages are disintegrating at a frightened pace. Personal integrity is rapidly disappearing across our land. (Gospel Light, April, 1976)

An all wise Creator made the distinct sexual natures of men and women and assigned their unique roles in life. True happiness comes to men and women who understand their proper sexual role and observe it. (Gospel Advocate, Jan 1978)

Immorality is brazenly extending its territory. Porno shops, massage parlors and nude bars are in almost every city... Even more serious is the deterioration of marriage and the home. Adultery, desertion, and divorce are now commonplace. (Gospel Light, August 1979)

The face of every large American city is covered with ugly sores. There are massage parlors, adult book stores, X-rated movies, nude bars and gay hangouts. Every faithful Christian is against such vices as these. (Gospel Light, Nov 1979)

These statements were made before the AIDS epidemic or internet pornography or gay marriage. But they seem curiously relevant today, and they illustrate what is wrong in our world. What is wrong is YOU and ME and US.

The preacher who wrote these articles was having multiple adulterous relationships over a long period of time with several different women in churches where he preached. Even as he was known to others as a moral crusader, he was failing at living the moral life he proclaimed. What was wrong was not what he preached but what he practiced.

Maybe what is wrong with out world is that those of us who say we believe the truth are so woefully inadequate at living the truth. It is easy to point at the failings of our culture, for they are many. But maybe we need to deal with the log in our eye so we can better see how to remove the speck in the eye of others.

If the world sees the holiness of God reflected in our lives, then maybe then they will listen when we have something to say about morality. Maybe if the world sees the joy of the Lord reflected in our hearts, then maybe they will listen when we talk about the best way to live life. Maybe of the world sees the love of Christ reflected in how we deal with broken people, then maybe they will listen when we talk about repentance and redemption.

I’m not sure anyone will pay much attention to what we preach until we practice what we preach. But speaking from personal experience, it’s a lot easier to just preach.