First you LISTEN to those who are sinful and ACT on what they say
Then you STOP and become part of the gathering of the sinful sitting around with them and giving them your ear and your time - time that should be spent listening to God and using your time wisely
And then, as one of them, having thrown caution and that which is right to the wind, you RECLINE in their company.
This 'Rake's Progress' is the path to becoming a sinful person.
But it also works for those who would bring others into relationship with God for first we speak SOUND and efficacious WORDS and the wisdom of what we say and the balance that is to be found in our words (and our lifestyle) resonates with those who are far off from God and causes them to STOP and engage and soon they are to be found as part of our company, RECLINING, with believers and in a place whereby they can be introduced to someone who can tell them everything they ever did and lead them into healing and holiness despite who we have been.
Being Christian has never been a path that would win many popularity contests for it contains a good many DON'Ts (usually relating to the things we like to do) and even more DO's (which urge us on to do things we don't really want to do!
It's all well and good being someone who can, by looking like the world, find favour with those who are outside the Church BUT the thing is that however hard we try, we come to a place where regardless of the words we utter - the fruit of our lips and the seeds that we sow speak of the enemy rather than the Christ.
We must work at keeping our walk straight and our talk edifying - something that appears to be a struggle for all of us - because if we do not possess that 'otherness' that being a follower of Jesus, the Christ, commands, then how can we lead others into that place?
I am reminded of the words of the Godspell song 'Alas for you' which go thus:
'After you've got your converts you make them twice as fit for hell!
As you are yourselves!
So today the choice is ours - who are we going to serve?