Today I am in Spain after a great weekend in Utrecht, Netherlands. We did healing activation and ministry over the weekend and saw Holy Spirit touch many people with the love of God and His supernatural touch. Thank you God for your kindness and your great love! We your people love you!
Last week I began to address the value of honoring the reputation of others. We must never lie about another person, but we must also be careful how we tell our version of the truth or our perception of the truth. The reputation of a person is the reputation of the likes and image of God in human form.
We must always seek to cover the sins of another, but sometimes the sins of another can damage the reputation of the whole community or a portion of that community. If someone sins to the degree that they are harming the body and it is destroying the reputation of the body, we are to appeal to them in the hope of their turning towards life. At times we must set boundaries to protect the members of our household and we also seek to restore members when they are caught up in some destructive force. When a family member is in sin we seek to cover, restore, and renew them into the community of life. In honoring the reputation of fallen family member we make our appeal, if they don’t hear it we treat them like a sinner and a tax collector. We might eat with them, but we don’t live in their deception with them. We don’t eat with them to become like them. We don’t entertain their criticisms so we too become critical. We are open to them becoming part of us, but we don’t become part of them. This is how we treat sinners.
We must honor the reputations of others. We are never to bear false witness; even if it is based upon something true. If there is a true witness towards some destructive behavior on their part, we make a clear boundary of protection for the community of God. We set a boundary, but the boundary always has a way back to restoration and healing. The boundary can be a closed and locked door, but there is a way to obtain the key that unlocks the door to restoration. Our objective is always to steer things towards the direction of life.
I have had people that damaged reputations. They damaged the church bad. People would call me about them. I would be honest and say, “I don’t know where that person is at in their life at this time, because I am not presently in relationship with them. Many years ago I was in a conflict with them so I would suggest you be wise in your connection. People can change. If this person hasn’t changed you might want to be cautious in your connections.” I am not trying to damage that person’s reputation in doing that. I am trying to protect someone I know from falling into the same trap I found myself in. All decisions in life must move toward protecting life and giving life. Do I need to say anything? Are they going to be ok? If I am a responsible leader and another leader wants to know something about someone who took a 100 people out of my church I may give a caution. What will produce life? What will protect life? The issue is protecting life. In a community of Christ we always seek to honor reputations.
In a culture of honor there are various levels of relationship. My wife knows that no one person can be your best friend. She says that when ladies come to her and want to be her best friend she tells them that she has many best friends. In the area of old movies this is my best friend. When I go shopping this is my best friend. When it comes to understanding things in this area, this lady is my best friend. She says that best friends come in pieces. Relationships with each and every person is different. If you have only one friend you limit the depth of relationships. When there is a problem you always go to a person out of relationship, not from a place of law. Relationships are about life; they are not about rule.
When there is a problem in a community you go to a relationship, not to a law. This is part of a culture of honor. Even if we end up losing the connection in relationship that we once had with someone, we don’t seek to damage them overtly. We are to treat them like sinners and tax collectors. We understand they are takes and not givers in their hearts. We must remain givers in our own hearts. We don’t seek to damage sinners in the community for being sinners. When someone breaks relationship for the sake of sin we treat them like sinners. We don’t condemn them, nor do we condone them. We don’t put the same righteous expectations upon them that we did in the past, nor do we expect them to act like us. We don’t share covenant with them. We might have a dinner with them and invite them to have a relationship with God, but we don’t look to be confrontational. We don’t look to listen to their way of life and seek to emulate it ourselves. We don’t entertain their criticisms so we can also become critical. We are always open for them to be part of us, but if they don’t allow us to be a part of their lives in a covenant way, we treat them as people who are simply not part of our community of intimacy. I have had people who damaged the church bad and I had to mark them, but in a culture of honor I must always be open for reconnection, redemption, healing, and restoration unto life.
Ted J. Hanson