What kind of example are you setting? Has anyone ever asked you this? We often resent this question when we hear it. Why? One reason: because we feel the person asking is accusing us. Another reason might be: We feel the person asking the question has no right to judge. In other words, we often want to reply, “I don’t care what you think.” By the way, we are often right about the person asking the question.
Rather than taking offense at the thought of “example,” let’s try to see it from another angle. Example is not about other people’s opinion. Other people have opinions, and they may pass judgment. But that is an issue of judging. That is not an issue of example. We need to be careful not to let our resentment for false judgment cloud the issue of example.
Example is one of the most important teachings of the Bible. In fact, the Scripture is filled with examples. We are taught by example from God. Abraham is our example. Moses is our example. The Apostles are our example, and above all Jesus is our example. So what does example mean to you? More importantly, what does it mean to God?
Example is really about what you do and say. Jesus taught us that we would be judged by what we do and say (Matthew 7:16; 12:36). Jesus also taught us to follow his example (John 14:6). Christianity is a religion with expectations that can be measured in conduct. A Christian will do or not do certain things. A Christian will say or not say certain things. We all fall short in these areas. We all need to pick ourselves up, change direction, and start again. We are called to correct our own example to others.
The fact that many people wrongly assume they can judge us does not mean that there is no judge. There is a judge. His name is Jesus Christ. He will ask us about the example we set and the example we followed. Let’s be certain we are prepared to answer his questions.