This no longer 'fits'

A solid reputation requires a commitment to being honest. Deceitful people walk a treacherous, thorny path. Mom always said that my lies would "snowball". In other words, it was like rolling the tiny snowball into the bigger one which eventually became the biggest part of the snowman's body! The more you "roll around" in the lie, the more lies you attract and use to cover up the original one. Eventually, there is more effort in being dishonest than there ever would have been in maintaining your integrity and just coming clean about what it is you wanted to cover up in the first place. At the moment, a lie seems like an easy fix to a miserable situation, but in the end, the situation is made more miserable by the lies. No amount of "cover-up" actually stays covered up very long. Eventually some form of "heat" will cause the truth to surface - and when it does, the damage the lies have done to your reputation leave a bigger "hole" to fix.

We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives. Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to God than religious performance. Arrogance and pride—distinguishing marks in the wicked—are just plain sin. (Proverbs 21:2-4)

Consider how we treat the poor or those who seem to have injustices done to them all the time. We could all probably forget that the "beggar" is really a person behind the sign. We see the "outward" but forget about the person behind the outward display. I think God wants us to consider the person and not only their "display" - for the person is the one with the true need for our touch, consideration, and empathy. Injustice is any event or circumstance which inflicts undeserved hurt. See beyond the "sign" in another's life and look for the ways we can turn-around the "hurts" they have experienced. The foolish man is really exhibiting some 'not so good' behavior which affects those around him. Fighting, quarrels, and insults leave their devastation behind wherever the fool has had his influence. The fool defies and challenges just for the sake of an argument without regard to the outcome or the cost. We have to guard against maintaining company with the fool - because they do damage without any concern for the damage inflicted. If you find yourself "downing" the hopes of another, you might just be venturing into the realm of the fool. Check yourself if this occurs, for you are not only damaging the delight of another but developing a bad reputation for yourself.

Reputation is both gained and maintained. What we might not realize is how it can also be "re-gained". It is through the work of Christ in our lives, taking apart the pieces which don't "fit" any longer after we give him control. In turn, he replaces these pieces with the type of actions which "fit". It is this "refitting" operation which reveals new evidence consistent with a change in character. This change in character is what gives us a renewed or new reputation in the eyes of others. If you have found yourself in the place of living with a damaged reputation because of past actions on your part, don't be discouraged. God's plan is to restore in ways you would never dream possible. You just need to give him the damaged parts and let him have his way in taking away what no longer "befits" the child of God and "outfitting" you with his character in turn. Just sayin!


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