We need to be more like Hyacinth Bouquet. For those who don't know, she's the main character in the sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.
I don't think we need to be curtain twitchers like she is. Always nosing into her neighbours business. Nor should we be hypocrites. More concerned with outward appearance than the inner attitudes of our hearts.
But we do need to care about how we are viewed by people around us. Because the way we behave effects what they think of Jesus.
"Live such good lives among the pagans, that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 1 Peter 2:12
There are three things this verse assumes:
1. Our lives will be visible to people who aren't Christians.
2. They will think that we're wrong to live to please Jesus.
3. One day they will see we were right to do so and glorify God as a result. This might refer to them becoming Christians or acknowledging Jesus as Lord on the day they face his dreadful judgement.
So here's one simple application. Sharing a room or house with a man or woman you're in a relationship with, that's not marriage, dishonours Jesus. Even if the closest you get to sex is a peck on the cheek to say good night!
Why? Because everyone else will assume that you're doing what everyone else does. Even if you tell you're friends and family of your how your Christian principles mean that you're sleeping in separate bedrooms. All the neighbours will presume your at it. All your non-Christian colleagues will assume you're at it. And let's be honest, if you have normal hormones quite quickly you'll be at it. Or certainly doing as much as your conscience allows you.
Now you could get a couple t-shirt made up with the slogan: "We're not having sex we're Christians." On the front and "No really we're not even cuddling on the sofa" on the back. But I'm not sure that will help the reputation of Jesus!
So let's not be like the Pharisees of Jesus day and try to work out what we can get away with. Let's want to honour Jesus as much as we can in a world that will always assume we're just like it.