You might hear other variations, such as: “You’re hurting the Cause of Christ” or “God’s Name will be Damaged” or something along those lines. As a Christian, this is the last thing that you would want. Right after someone says this to you, you’ll probably hear them say that if unbelievers hear this they will not want to become Christians. This insinuates that you are stopping people from receiving Christ as their Savior because sin was made public for everyone to see and we should keep Christian shortcomings secret so that “the name of Christ is not hurt.”
Do you think that God is worried about His name? Do we see God covering up the sin of His people so that He does not get a bad name and reputation among unbelievers? What has been God’s public response to sin? In Scripture, these answers are better to see than when you’re down in the middle of the situation and living life but through Scripture we see how He protects His name.
I can imagine what people might have said to Samuel. “Hey, you’re hurting the name of God by confronting King Saul in front of all those people for not obeying by killing everyone and all the animals. He meant well and just made a mistake and He was going to offer the stuff to God anyway. That should count for something. Let’s not make a big deal out of this because you’ll make us look bad in front of the other nations.”
What about when Nathan confronted David about his sin? Can you imagine Nathan arguing with God? “God, I know David did wrong. I know he killed Uriah and a baby was conceived out of wedlock but he's the "man of God" and if you make everyone aware of the sin that he did, they’re going to question Your choice in making David king. I’d hate to see that and they are going to blame Bathsheba. They are going to start questioning her age, and if she consented. They’ll say that she did it on purpose to seduce him, or that the Philistines put her up to it. I just don’t think the nation of God can handle the scandal and ridicule that will happen. You also know that nobody’s going to want to come to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices and worship You. What about the tithes and offerings? Those are going to suffer.”
Can you imagine what the disciples were telling Jesus while he’s throwing out the money changers in the Temple? “Jesus, you’re hurting your name. Settle down. Why are you getting so mad? We’re in the foyer of the Temple and these are just people who have set up booths and display tables to sell things to believers to help them be better believers to serve God. You’re going to make yourself look bad and if people see your behavior they won’t want to follow you. If they are really doing something wrong, you need to follow your own teaching and go to them one on one and confront them of their sin. If they don’t listen, take us with you to confront them, and if that doesn’t work than you need to talk with the priests to get them kicked out. You’ve really need to think about your image before you start throwing things around.”
And what about Paul when he confronts Peter in Galatians 2? Those church leaders should have told Paul, “This is a local, independent, Baptist church and we just don’t confront other pastor’s in our fundamental circles. That would make us look bad and cast a bad light on the name of God and people might not want to join our congregation. We just don’t get involved in the affairs of other churches and you shouldn’t either. If you have a problem, you should probably just start your own church and do it your own way. We have these rules to make us conform to the image of God and if you can’t accept and look like us Christians, than you are probably just backslidden and need to get right with God.”
My above examples are just absurd but they sound familiar. People are so worried about “hurting the name of Christ” that they’d rather hide sin and cover abuse than to do what is right and what God in the OT and what Jesus and the apostles demonstrated in the NT. God says that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” If we apply that today, God would want us to do what’s right and confront sin instead of determining that we’ll just tithe more, serve more, preach louder, witness longer, make more rules, and “forgive and forget” because we don’t want our reputation spoiled because someone might not want to come to church with us because we don’t look righteous.