Sometimes our faith can be rocked more by the sins of others than by our own sins.
This can happen when we ‘put someone on a pedestal’, and they fail. When someone we admire greatly falls through sin, we can feel personally let down. In extreme cases our faith takes a serious blow.
It’s a risk we run when we link our own situation, our own faith, too closely with someone else – someone with a strong personality perhaps, with energy and determination, a good speaker perhaps, or even the person who helped us understand the ‘good news’ in the Bible.
A psalm attributed to Hezekiah says,
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalm 118.9).
The words were inspired, but Hezekiah knew how true they were from his own experience of the Lord – and of princes. He’d had enough experiences with princes from his own and surrounding nations to know that it’s better not to place too much faith in them. Hezekiah had been a prince, so he knew first hand they couldn’t always be trusted! In part he was saying “don’t trust me, trust God”.
The Bible shows us that generally princes had the respect of the people of Israel. And God expected the Israelites to be good examples:
“Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, much less lying lips to a prince.” (Proverbs 17.7).
But, alas, princes will probably fail.
Of course we must have a high opinion of our fellow Christians, esteeming them better than ourselves. And some people in authority, including ‘princes’, exercise their power and position wisely, earning our respect. But we have to avoid the trap of tying our faith to them instead of God.
They could let you down; God won’t.