Compartmentalize

The title of this article is a mighty big word which does not roll off the tongue easily. It means "to separate into isolated compartments" or categories. In the Bible, there are examples of men and women who tried to compartmentalize their obligations to God from their daily lives. But God knows our hearts and sees all (Acts 15:8; Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 3:20; Hebrews 4:13).

One example of such a human frailty was King David. One day, rather than being out in battle against Israel’s enemies, he stayed in Jerusalem and lusted after another man’s wife, Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-4), and they committed adultery. Seeking to hide his sin, David had her husband Uriah murdered in battle. For a year or more he continued on with his kingly duties with perhaps only himself, Bathsheba and Joab knowing of his sins. But God knew! He sent the prophet Nathan who rebuked David and David repented (2 Samuel 12:1-14; Psalm 51:1-4).

But during the interval between his sins and his repentance, how did the “sweet psalmist of Israel” live with himself? Nathan did not indicate that David had violated the Sabbath, forsaken any of the feast days prescribed by the Law, touched anything unclean, worshipped idols, forgotten the animal sacrifices or any of the ceremonial laws commanded by Moses. Except for secretly violating the sixth, seventh and tenth commandments of the Ten Commandments, David appeared to his kingdom to be faithful to God. Perhaps he compartmentalized his sinful conduct by mentally separating it from his duties as a Hebrew and a king. This is the heart of hypocrisy. The sinner hardens his heart to certain of God’s commands, while seeming to obey others (Matthew 23:27).

Friends, do you and I compartmentalize our lives? Do we stress love of others, yet fail to warn them of their sins? Do we sing, “O, How I Love Jesus” publically, but inwardly despise our brother or sister whom Jesus died for? Do we mouth piety and virtue while secretly having lustful, covetous and prideful hearts? Do we claim that we are “sound” in the faith, but compromise sound doctrine so we can “go along and get along?” Do we indicate we would “die for Jesus” but fellowship those He would not fellowship? (Ephesians 5:11; 2 John 9-11). Do we cherish “The Old Rugged Cross” but fail to tell others about it? Do we fail to contribute of our income as we have been blessed (1 Corinthians 16:2) because “I spend a lot of time working for the church?”

Let us never forget that God knows our hearts and He does not forgive sins which have not been repented of (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30). Let us not compartmentalize our sins, but rather seek to live holy, honest lives (1 Peter 1:15-16; Luke 10:27). Roelf L. Ruffner

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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