Keeping Up Appearances
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to, "abstain from all appearance of evil."
What does that mean?
It means we need to think about how things might appear even if our intentions are nothing but pure.
For example, in another place, Paul wrote the following, Spirit-breathed, instructions regarding the consumption of meat that had come from idol sacrifices:
"...beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge [that an idol is nothing cf. vs. 4-6] eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." (1 Corinthians 8:9-13)
Sometimes we can have a negative impact on others simply because we fail to give the proper thought to how our actions might appear.
As you go about your day today, think: What will be the impression left on others if I go there, say this, buy that, talk to him or her, etc.
We may never be able to completely avoid moments where someone gets the wrong idea, but if we are mindful of these thoughts, it can go a long way in helping our influence be one that leads others closer to God more often than not. "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)