I feel like maybe this has been said over and over again. Yet we don't listen.
We read right past all the passages, and still don't let it set in. Yup, it's the subtle things that we miss and fail at the most. The stuff non-believers use against us all the time.
How can we preach, "don't judge us by our crazy christian friends" when non-believers have no concept of who God is in our lives?
I remember one time stepping into youth ministry when I was 20 years of age. Before stepping into it, I'd have poker nights at my house monthly. We'd smoke cigars and have a good ol' time. The youth pastor knew of these things before having me come aboard. The first thing he said was "If you're going to be a leader, these things have to stop." It wasn't because they were bad, or terrible. But what could potentially happen with the youth was something I had never thought of before. And they were too young to handle these choices with self control, like maybe I thought I was.
The call always comes back to who we are representing. If you have kids, i'm sure you've heard the excuse "Well my brother was doing it too!". Which always makes it right!? We do this in adult Christian land, only more subtle. We mentally point fingers, we tell ourselves, "well i'm not as bad as that christian". When the truth remains the truth, and no matter what you say or do, we will all be perfectly judged in the end. Just like a child to his parent. We can kick and scream, point fingers, try to draw the attention to someone else, however at the end of life we will be perfectly judged.
Why am I saying all of this? Because, I've been that guy whose had the fingers pointed at. I got a divorce, and the rumors and gossip in the Christian community was almost earth shattering. As though they have nothing else to focus on then why I left.
I also get tired of non-believers using the lame excuses to avoid a relationship with God. Like we think we are better than everyone else. Well, truth is, we kinda are. We have someone in our corner when we are sitting there at night crying our eyes out because we miss our kids. We have a bible full of knowledge and wisdom to both spur us along, and motivate us beyond which we are capable. And occasionally miracles happen that an Atheist would explain as a coincident, and a Christian would say it was an answer to prayer. Was it truly an answer to prayer? or just a coincident? That's up to you to decide, and further from my point.
Taking ownership in ourselves. I once asked my manager if he had talked to an employee about "talking too much". He said, "Oh man, that was the worst criticism I've ever dished out". "She responded with all kinds of excuses and tried to throw everyone else under the bus!".
I'm reminded of a Proverb. Whether you believe in God or not, the proverb couldn't be more perfect.
Proverbs 10:17 "Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."
If you need to do so, take God out of it. The verse still speaks truth into your heart.