Proverbs 12:26

One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

For good or ill we are all guides to our neighbors. Whether we are vocal or silent, withdrawn or sociable, we guide our neighbors and they guide us. This is called life experience. Some neighbors are consciously guided by us; some are unaware that we affect them at all; even so, because God has placed us in their life experience, we are affecting them for good or ill. And they us: God has placed neighbors around us to impact us.

Here is the question then for us. Will our righteousness impact our neighbor for the good and also protect us from being led astray? Will our righteousness be seen for integrity or hypocrisy? We cannot, of course, control how others perceive us; even so, we must always examine our behavior because we remain sinners. We do not have the luxury to sin in front of our neighbor or against our neighbor and then shrug it off. We do not have the freedom to “sow our wild oats,” to explore sin, because of this thing called “witness.” We are witnesses to the life-transforming power and love of Christ; we are witnesses to his call upon our lives. What kind of witness will we be today?

And how well will we handle the influence of our neighbors on us? How many times will we react to sinful behavior with sinful response? Keep your eyes upon Christ, upon the Gospel. Let his grace be the all-dominating influence on you today. If so, then your righteousness will indeed be a guide to your neighbor and your protection from the influence of the wicked.

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