Today's encouragement comes from Luke 3:19 & 20, where we read these words:
"But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by [John the Baptist] concern-ing Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Her-od had done, also added this, above all, that he shut John up in pris-on."
This is a fascinating passage of Scripture. Herod was basically a typ-ical bad guy. He was ruthless, cruel, immoral, vicious, and violent. And yet the very *worst* thing he ever did, according to the Bible it-self, was to lock John the Baptist up in prison. Why was this more ne-farious than Herod's public incest, for instance? Because by silencing John he was hindering the gospel proclamation of the church.
Let us keep that in mind as we evaluate various individuals, be they public officials, or people in the neighborhood. Someone may go to a deeper hell over unrepented-of disdain for the clergy's ministry, than they would over gross and brazen immorality.
[Puritan quote of the day: "For if it were not the Spirit that persuaded the soul when the minister speaks, alas! all ministerial persuasions are to no purpose." --Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]