Am I Hindering Anyone?
By Frances Ridley Havergal
Many an active and willing helper in the work of God is too often an unconscious hinderer of the Gospel.
A vexation arises, and our expressions of impatience hinder others from taking it patiently. Disappointment, ailment, or even weather depresses us, and our look or tone of depression hinders others from maintaining a cheerful and thankful spirit.
We utter a fearful or discouraging remark, and another’s hope and zeal are wet-blanketed. “What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart” (Deut. 20:8).
We say an unkind thing, and another is hindered in learning the holy lesson of love that thinks no evil. We say a provoking thing, and our sister or brother is hindered in that day’s effort to be meek. “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way” (Heb. 12:13).
We yield an inch in some doubtful matter, and another is made bold to take a mile. We do a questionable thing, and another seeing our example, feels justified in doing an unlawful thing. “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22).
We miss an opportunity of speaking a word for Jesus, and our pleasant, commonplace talk checks a half-formed wish for something better and hinders the lights of the glorious Gospel from shining into a heart. We do not heed the thoughtful look on some face just after family prayer or public worship, and our needless chatter about earthly things causes the spiritual concern to fly.
How sad, too, that we may hinder without word or act. Wrong feeling is more infectious than wrongdoing, especially the various phases of ill temper, such as gloominess, touchiness, discontent, irritability. Do we not know how catching these are?
If the Lord asked us, “Wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel?” – should we be utterly without excuse? What if He asked each hindered one, “Who did hinder you?” – are our consciences sure that our names would escape mention?
Might we never be the helpers of the great hinderer, Satan! Let us ask that the Lord Jesus would so perfectly tune our spirits to the keynote of His exceeding great love, that all our unconscious influence may breathe only of that love, and help all with whom we come in contact to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.