Representing God in the world is both a great privilege and a sobering responsibility. While on this side of heaven, our representation of him will always be marred by sin, nevertheless we can show forth who God is and what he is like. What a privilege for souls saved by the free grace of Christ!
It’s a healthy thing to ask ourselves, “How am I doing? What do people think about God on account of me?” In a sense, our representation of God is how we honor or fail to honor him.
In 1 Samuel 2:12-36 we have one of the greatest misrepresentations. God’s chief representatives, the priests, were to show the nation that, “there is none holy like the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:2). But instead they were the ones profaning his name. And to make matters worse, Eli allowed the sins of his sons to go on unchecked. When the LORD addresses him, the word is clear, “Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?” (1 Samuel 2:29).
Eli failed to represent a crucial aspect of God’s character: his holiness. And why did he do this? It was certainly the easy path. It was also the path that left him with a full belly. I think we all know the aversion to hard decisions or conversations. Dale Ralph Davis says,
“This prophecy against Eli emphasizes that you can end up in grave sin by thinking it very important to be nice to people. How easy it is to practice a gutless compassion that never wants to offend anyone, that equates niceness with love and thereby ignores God’s law and essentially despises his holiness. We do not necessarily seek God’s honor when we spare human feelings” 
It’s hard when other believers or leaders have given way to sin. It calls from us a balance of representing God’s holiness and love. How many of the following ideas might govern your response when you think about a brother or sister in sin:
- “I don’t really know them that well.”
- “I know them too well, they won’t listen to me.”
- “I don’t want to offend them or seem harsh?”
- “They already know what they are doing is wrong?”
- “What they are doing is not as bad as it could be.”
- “Maybe someone else will say something.”
- “I’ll just pray for them.”
Grace Covenant Church, may God help us to honor him above all others. May we show forth to one another and a watching world that God is infinite in holiness and infinite in love.
 Dale Ralph Davis, Focus On the Bible – 1 Samuel: Looking On the Heart (Focus On the Bible Commentaries) (Geanies House, Fern, Ross-Shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus, 2008), 36-37.