“Rather than wealth, choose a good reputation,
Esteem over silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 CJB.
A good reputation is not something one can buy. It is the result of a certain heart and character.
“Do not let grace and truth leave you—
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and esteem
in the sight of God and of people.” Proverbs 3:3-4 CJB.
Grace and truth, how important these are when evaluating, judging, the actions of others.
Suppose then, you are having a conversation with some close ones about something someone… you all know, said to someone else… you all know. And what that person said was accusatory in regards to a decision the other had made. The accusation was that the other person’s motives were self seeking and not in the interest of the body as a whole. And suppose that as a result it caused an uneasiness between the two.
But then as the conversation proceeded, you recalled that at some point after this uneasiness began between the two individuals , in a prayer offered up, you heard the “accuser” confessing to Yahweh the merits of decisions people make in their efforts to be in His will… and in light of what you knew had occurred prior to the prayer, it was evident that that person had been thinking about the incident and the words spoken and realized, their “kin in the faith” had done nothing wrong, on the contrary, had done what actually can be expected when one hears the prompting and call of God’s Spirit in their life. The prayer was humble and sincere and had all the earmarks of conviction and repentance.
So then you would have brought that up in order to give a deeper insight into the character of the individual. But no…you didn’t.
There is another scripture that can apply here and I believe it does in its spirit.
“If a person who is a witness, sworn to testify, sins by refusing to tell what he has seen or heard about the matter, he must bear the consequences.” Leviticus 5:1 CJB.
What those consequences would be I’m not sure, but could one of them be a tarnishing of our own reputation for not testifying about a matter we have knowledge of… and as a consequence another’s good character… their reputation, would suffer?
The important point is that we are just as obligated to protect the reputation of our fellow brothers and sisters, when we can, as they are to seek after a good reputation that the Word counsels them/us to pursue. Isn’t that so?
The apostle Peter says, “…rid yourselves of all malice, of all deceit, hypocrisy and envy, and of all the ways there are of speaking against people…” (1 Peter 2:1 CJB) and I would say to rid ourselves of all ways of not speaking for people when we know the good they have done. We are our brother’s keepers. And we need to be on guard because at the root of our withholding good there is malice, deceit, hypocrisy and ways for speaking against people.
Father forgive us our trespasses against one another, those we do openly and mistakenly… and those we do by intentional omission.
May we communicate with one another in honesty as people who love one another and not assume we know what is in the heart and mind of one another.
May we be slow and prayerful in our evaluation of other’s behavior.
And in the case of mistaken judgments may we be quick to ask for forgiveness or as the case may be, quick togive forgiveness.
May we find favor in Your sight and in the sight of people and
May You be glorified.
In Yeshua’s name we pray,
May God’s love be in us all.