What is it about honesty that scares us so much? Why does admitting we are vulnerable strike such terror in even the strongest? Looking at the life of Christ, He was never afraid to put His true self on full display. He ate dinner with those who were despised by the religious leaders of His day; He willingly touched the outcasts of society; He refused to compromise His principles even when it was obviously the easier choice. Still, He wasn’t afraid to show anger by driving the thieves out of the temple; He wasn’t afraid to show His anguish by the tears He shed; and He wasn’t afraid to show His disappointment when men chose to go their own way rather than follow Him. In short, Jesus didn’t care what people thought of His methods or personality; He simply loved them in spite of their opinions. Through it all, He was honest with everyone about who He was, and about His mission.
Why do we find this such a difficult example to follow? We worry over much smaller things in life. We concern ourselves with what we wear, the style of our hair, the kind of car we drive and the places that we frequent. We’re all about building our reputation. Jesus wasn’t afraid of a bad reputation among the elite of His day. I think He reveled in it. After all, He came to seek and to serve the “least of these”, the poor and outcast of society. His reputation was just fine with these folks. There is a great lesson here. Be concerned with the reputation you have with those you serve. The opinions of others don’t matter at all, because they are not part of your mission. Yet our fear and insecurity about being honest with others comes from our fear of losing face (or reputation) with those very people who live outside of our calling. We are called to the poor, the widows, the orphans, the single moms, the homeless and the hungry. How is your reputation with these groups of people?
Living honestly and in total transparency is a necessity if we are to reach those who are down and out in our cities, those who have lost hope. These individuals have been abused by others and by society at large. They have been spit on and ignored. They are the strangers in the ditch and we are to be their “good Samaritan”; we are to be their neighbor. After being hurt by so many, they will see through any pretense. They don’t care where you come from or what you’ve done; they do, however, care if you are honest with them. Your reputation with them is only as good as your honesty. Throw out any self doubt and simply love somebody. Fulfill your mission by being the very hands and feet of God.
We give too much attention to our reputation among the well to do, the movers and the shakers, of our world. We want to be seen with the elite and recognized by the socially relevant. But this is the antithesis of our mission. We are called to serve the have-nots, the hungry and the hurting. It’s time for a little soul searching and some self analysis. To whom are you catering with your attitudes and concerns? Care nothing for what the high and proud of this world may think of you. Consider how those in need perceive you. Let your defenses down, give of yourself to someone in need. Instead of worrying about what others may think of you, concern yourself instead with the opinions of those whom you are called to serve. Do they see you as being honest? Do they see you as being real and sincere in your love for them? What’s your reputation?