Evening, September 11, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes. ” — Psalms 5:8
The hostility is of the world very bitter against the people of Christ. Men will forgive a thousand faults in others, but they will magnify the most trivial offense in the followers of Jesus. Instead of vainly regretting this, let us turn it to our account, and since so many are watching for our stumbling, let this be a special motive for walking very carefully before God. If we live carelessly, the lynx-eyed world will soon see it, and with its hundred tongues, it will spread the story, exaggerated and emblazoned by the zeal of slander. They will shout triumphantly. “Aha! So would we have it! See how these Christians act! They are hypocrites, every one.” Consequently, much damage will be done to the cause of Christ, and much insult offered to his name. The cross of Christ is in itself an offense to the world; let us take care that we add no offense of our own. It is “to the Jews a stumbling block;” let us take care that we put no stumbling blocks where there are enough already. “To the Greeks it is foolishness;” let us not add our folly to give a point to the scorn with which the worldly-wise deride the gospel. How critical should we be of ourselves! How unbending with our consciences! In the presence of adversaries who will misrepresent our best deeds, and impugn our motives where they cannot criticize our actions, how prudent should we be! As noted in Pilgrim’s Progress, pilgrims travel as suspected persons through Vanity Fair. Not only are we under surveillance, but there are more spies than we know of. The espionage is everywhere, at home and abroad. If we fall into the enemies’ hands we may sooner expect generosity from a wolf, or mercy from a sadist, than anything like patience with our shortcomings from men who spice up their infidelity towards God with scandals against his people. O Lord, lead us ever, lest our enemies trip us up!