Worse Than An Unbeliever?

In I Timothy 5:8 Paul writes: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” That last phrase really catches one’s attention: “worse than an unbeliever”? But it really is possible for a Christian to be “worse than an unbeliever” in a particular scenario. For whatever an unbeliever does in that situation, it does not reflect poorly upon the gospel, and the glory of God. But when a person who claims the name of Christ is in that same situation and acts unbecomingly, it DOES tarnish the glory of the God he serves in the eyes of the watching world, and thus this compromiser is “worse than an unbeliever.”

Taking for instance the example Paul uses in I Timothy 5:8, of a man not taking care of his family, one can easily see how this would be so. This person’s neighbors, beholding the neglectful Christian’s treatment of his family, would undoubtedly say, “If that is how Christians take care of their loved ones, I don’t want to be one of them. I am a better person than that without this Jesus.” It would be better for that neighbor if there were a LOST person living next door; at least he would not harm the witness of the gospel!

This verse should cause each of us to ask ourselves: is it better for the glory of God that I am here (in this job, this church, this neighborhood, etc.) or because of my compromises which reflect poorly upon the Lord, would it actually be better for those watching if a lost person were here in my place? Let it not be said of you, that you are “worse than an unbeliever”!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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