This morning I started out my day as I do most days, by evaluating the things I have to do, the things I want to do, and the things that are happening no matter what. It helps me set my course for the day and then provides particulars that I want to pray about. It happens that this morning I had one item on my list that was not so appealing. I had to talk with someone about a negative aspect of her personality. It was work related and something that had to be done, but I was not looking forward to confronting someone on their reputation.
After talking it over with God, I felt ready to go, knowing what had to be said could be done with grace. With His help, it would go well.
I continued my time of prayer, spending time praying for the ones in my life who I have found myself with resentments toward. I struggled with prayers of blessings for them as I sometimes do. My mind started to wander and giving thought to how we summarize people in our lives. I thought about reputations, especially since I was dealing with someone who had a negative one and how her mistakes seem to have pegged her a certain type of personality. I made a note to myself to think about what God was trying to show me, got back on track and finished my time with Him.
As the day has progressed, this reputation thing has come up several times. I began to play a mental game with myself as people came into my office, or emails came into my computer, or even as folks crossed my mind. I gave them a title, based on their reputation in my life. Some of the ones that I came up with are:
The friend who is like a sister.
The older woman who mentored me through a difficult time in my marriage.
The friend who lead me to Christ.
The person who always talks about herself.
The new Christian who appreciated my prayers, my encouragement and my friendship. She baked me bread.
The one who had an affair.
The pastor who taught me a lot about God, in words and in action.
The pastor who almost destroyed my faith in the church.
The friend who supported me as I walked through a difficult time.
The person who betrayed me.
The one who refuses to forgive.
The hairdresser who became a dear friend.
My husband who is solid as a rock.
The list goes on and on. I found it interesting that I can put a title to every person in my life, good, bad, short relationship, or long. If they made an impact, they are there.
What kind of titles am I leaving with those who I come in contact with? Am I a person who leaves a sour taste in peoples mouths, or the sweet aroma of Jesus Christ? I know that there are mixed answers from my life up to this point. That's OK, I am aware of where I have messed up for the most part. I continue to make amends as those situations come back up if necessary.
But where do I want to go from here? I know that I want to have a positive reputation. I have found the negative influences are just as impacting as the positive ones. I choose to be on God's side, the side of love, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, loyalty, grace, and mercy.
They make a lot of sense, these wise folks; whenever they speak, their reputation increases.
A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.
p.s. That conversation that I had to have went very well! Thank you, God!