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Encourage: Priority of criticism

The key to moral influence is to be more critical of ourselves than we are of others.

As Oklahoma Baptists, we have an obligation to engage in the public arena in order to influence the moral climate of our state. We are called to be “salt and light.” Sometimes this means we have to take a public stance that runs counter to culture—we should love people enough to tell the truth.

In our efforts to impact the public arena, we must not neglect this most basic reality. When others see that we tolerate our own sins while condemning theirs, we lose our moral authority. This is a Jesus principle. “Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:5) Again, the key to moral influence is to be more critical of ourselves than we are of others.

The great sickness of our land is the sickness of the church. The salt has lost its flavor. We have no ground for confronting the sins of our culture until we are heartbroken, confessing our own sin and the sins of our congregations.

Oh Lord Jesus, purify Your people!

This article is brief because I want you to take some time to pray Psalm 139:23-24 over your own heart.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And lead me in the everlasting way.”

Hance Dilbeck

Author: Hance Dilbeck

Hance Dilbeck is executive director-treasurer with Oklahoma Baptists

View more articles by Hance Dilbeck.

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