Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. Ecclesiastes 10:1
Perhaps you heard the story that came across the news wires yesterday. A 12-year old boy was visiting an art museum with a group of his classmates. For some reason, he decided to stick his chewing gum on the lower corner of a painting that is estimated to be worth 1.5 million dollars. The museum curator stated that the gum, while coming off fairly easily, left a residue about the diameter of a quarter. The painting can be repaired, but only through a costly and time consuming process.
Such is our testimony. Our testimony is what others think of Christ based upon what they see in our life. A testimony is a very fragile thing, it takes a lifetime to build, but can be destroyed in a moment. Dr. Johnny Hunt states, “If we damage our testimony, we are fortunate if we ever live long enough to repair it.”
One word, one careless act, one temper tantrum can cause years of witness to become ineffective.
Let me share with you something that happened to me when I was 13. My father was pastoring a church in a small town in West Virginia. Having been saved as a child I was doing my best to be a witness to my friends.
There was one kid in our neighborhood, Dennis Wilfong, whom I had witnessed to for four years. He came from what most would consider a hard background. While he was always ready to play, he showed absolutely no interest in the things of God. While I was able to get some of my other friends to go to church with me, Dennis never did.
One day we were playing in my yard. I was in a bad mood and Dennis was too. For some reason that I can’t remember we started fighting. We were about the same age, but I was a good bit bigger and so had no trouble in whipping him. He stood up with his nose bleeding and looked me in the eye and said, “You always talk about being a Christian, but I know that you are nothing but a hypocrite!” Four years of witnessing went down the drain in one moment because I failed to exhibit self-control.
Shortly after that, both of our families moved away and I have never seen Dennis again. Dennis, if you, by some chance, ever read this, please know that I asked for God’s forgiveness for that day’s events and I ask for yours as well. I have often prayed that at some point in your life you were able to get past the obstacle that I placed in front of you and find your way to God.
A testimony is a fragile thing.