Twenty-Sixth Day – Royal Commandments – by Francis R. Havergal

Hindering

‘Lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.’—I Cor. ix. 12.
MANY an active and willing helper in the Church is too often an unconscious hinderer of the gospel. Let us each try to find out how we may have hindered, that we may do so no more.
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 let out a fearing or discouraged remark, and another’s hope and zeal is 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.’1
We say an unkind thing,2 and another is hindered in learning the holy lesson of charity that ihinketh 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 {ox your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. ‘5

1 Deut. XX. 8; Judg. vii. 3. 2 Jas. iv. 11.
3 I Cor. xiii. 5. “* Jas. i. 26. 6 Heb. xii. 13.

We yield an inch in some doubtful matter, and another is emboldened to take an ell. We do an inexpedient thing, and another improves upon the supposed example, and feels justified in doing an unlawful thing.1 ‘Abstain from all appearance of evil.” ‘Let not your good be evil spoken of.’3
We miss an opportunity of speaking ‘a word for Jesus;’ and our pleasant, commonplace talk has checked a half-formed wish for something better, and hindered the light of the glorious gospel from shining into a heart.4 We do not heed the thoughtful look on some household face just after family prayer or public worship, and our needless chat about ‘ earthly things ‘6 acts the fowls of the air. We make a critical remark about a preacher qr writer, and it is brought back by the enemy in swift temptation, at the very moment when a word in season was about to find entrance.6 ‘Them that were entering in, ye hindered.” Oh, terrible condemnation !’ Let not those that seek Thee be confounded for my sake. ‘*
We need, too, to be shown whether we are quite unconsciously hindering in even lesser ways; for many have little peculiarities, of which they are hardly or not at all aware, which nevertheless annoy, fidget, depress, or chill those with whom they have much intercourse, and thus hinder the calm reign of peace in their spirits. ‘Let not them that wait on Thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake.’9

1 I Cor. X. 23 ; ib. viii. 13. 2 i Thess. v. 22. 8 Rom. xiv. 16.
4 2 Cor. iv. 4. 6 Phil. iii. 19 ; Matt.xiii. 4.
6 P:». cxLx. 130. ‘ Luke xi. 52. 8Ps. ixix. 6. •* Ps. Ixix. 6.

How sadly, too, we may hinder without word or act! For wrong feeling is more infectious than wrong-doing; especially the various phases of illtemper—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’ in this way, should we not be utterly without excuse?1 What if he asked each hindered one, ‘ Who did hinder you?” —are our consciences sure that our names would escape mention?
Shall we not watch and pray that this day we may only help and not hinder in the least thing, and that no one may have virtually to say to us, ‘Hinder me not’ !s May we never be the helpers of the great hinderer! When ‘Satan hindered’ St. Paul, he probably found human agents.4
Let us ask that the Lord Jesus would so perfectly tune our spirits to the key-note of His exceeding great love,5 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.6 ‘And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works.”

1 Num. xxxii. 7. 2 Gal. v. 7. 3 Gen. xxiv. 56.
4 I Thess. ii, 18. * 2 Cor. iv. xo. ^ 2 Thess. i. 8.
7 Heb. X. 24.

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