When the behavior of some in the assembly is disrespectful or irreverent, how can I be helpful to th

When the behavior of some in the assembly is disrespectful or irreverent, how can I be helpful to them?

Drinking coffee or talking on cell phones during meetings (as reported by the questioner) is a discretionary matter. To be fair, though, I don't think any elders in any assemblies I have visited would consider either of these behaviors appropriate during an assembly meeting.

In part, those who do these things may be trying to create an accepting atmosphere in which visitors will feel welcome. While this has value, a clear principle from Scripture has a prior claim: "Holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, forever" (Psa 93:5). "Holy and reverend (revered, awesome [ESV], terrible [JND]) is His name" (111:9b). Since His name is associated with His assembly (Mat 18:20), its character regulates the gatherings. "God is not the author of confusion (disorder, unruliness)" (1Co 14:33), therefore "Let all things be done decently and in order" (dignity, see Strong's) (v 40). Behavior that lacks propriety and orderliness becoming to the presence of the Lord has no place in God's assembly.

Three suggestions, then, may enable a believer to be helpful in such circumstances. First, do not let the behavior of others either shape your behavior (Rom 12:2a) or distract you from honoring the Lord (Psa 71:14, despite circumstances). Second, keep a right spirit, not becoming bitter against those whose behavior concerns you (Ephesians 4:31, 32). Third, communicate your concerns in a way that is positive and edifying (v 29b). If your communication is not likely to be helpful, say nothing, but find a way through prayer and waiting on the Lord to express your thoughts.

D. Oliver