June 15, 2016
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. James 4:11
Leaving for a week in Wisconsin tomorrow, I am writing this ahead of time in anticipation of the City Park clean up on Saturday. I am hoping it went well and that several willing hands from Faith were present. The park suffered a lot of damage and needs some clean up and restoration.
It made me think of another restoration project that I hope Faith members and all who follow Christ will make part of their regular routine: Reputation Restoration. We all know people, perhaps ourselves, whose reputation has been sullied by a one-time lapse of judgment or by actions or words or life-styles that can be easily misunderstood by others. Not everything is at it seems, and so we are not to be hasty in judgment. Like a flooded city park, peoples’ reputations can be ragged and shattered by real sins or the perception of others.
Our best response should be to do all we can to restore that reputation. Martin Luther, in explaining the commandment against bearing false witness, wrote how we are to regard our neighbor, We should fear and love God so that we do not … hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way. Humbled by the knowledge of our failures, it is not hard to see why some gentle understanding of the failures of others is in order.
As always, when we need a motive and example of why we should do the right thing, we look to Jesus. His life and death and resurrection restored our reputation, tagging us sinners as saints. Surely, in the spirit of His gracious and patient kindness toward us, it’s not too much to expect us to do likewise for others. “We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.
May God’s grace abide in you and through you.