“A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.”
All of us need to understand the seriousness of our testimonies before the ungodly. This verse of Scripture clearly speaks to this subject. The Bible calls it “a righteous man falling down before the wicked.”
The first thing we are made to think of is the possibility that this can happen. It is possible that a righteous man, a Christian, can fall spiritually, even before the unsaved. Not only is it possible, unfortunately, it happens all too often. It is so vitally important that we remember that others are watching our lives, listening to our conversations, and measuring our decisions and priorities. The wicked know who the righteous people are. They may not believe what we believe, and some may not respect the positions that we take. But they are watching. Some may be watching out of curiosity while others may watch to see how genuine our faith is. Still others watch with the specific goal of catching us in some inconsistency or failure. As cynical as it may sound, there are some who would like nothing more than to see a godly person fail. This is part of the purpose of our existence: to let others see the reality of Christ working in our lives.
We should not grow weary of being under the world’s microscope. We are here to shine as lights in a dark and corrupt world. We are not perfect, but we are sincere followers of Jesus Christ. We want our lives to be lived according to His Word and His will. When that is the case, our lives will be the objects of scrutiny.
What should we do if we make a mistake before the ungodly? What if we say or do something in the presence of a lost family member, friend, or work associate? We need to make it right with them. They are watching to see how we will deal with our failures. The only way to correct the problem is to confess our sin and ask their forgiveness. If we act as though it never happened, we give them more reason to consider us hypocrites. But when we humble ourselves and seek to honor the Lord, even when we have fallen, it does two things. First, it removes any opportunity for them to accuse us. Second, it actually makes our testimony stronger before them. If we fail to do this, our testimony becomes “a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.”
Our witness can be either a reservoir of life, or a contaminating well.