Sometimes we forget that as brothers and sisters in Christ it’s as important to look out for their reputation and their well being as it is our own. The thing that distinguished the early christians was their love and commitment to each other. It was the witness of that love that propelled christianity across the globe. We must give witness to that same kind of love for each other in our lives.
“Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity boasts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
TRUE Christian love will excite in the mind a holy jealousy for the Christian reputation of other believers. How sadly is this overlooked by many professors! What sporting with reputation, what trifling with character, what unveiling to the eyes of others the weaknesses, the infirmities, and the stumblings of which they have become cognizant, marks many in our day. Oh! if the Lord had dealt with us as we have thoughtlessly and uncharitably dealt with our fellow-servants, what shame and confusion would cover us! We should blush to lift up our faces before men. But the exercise of this divine love in the heart will constrain us to abstain from all envious, suspicious feelings, from all evil surmisings, from all wrong construing of motives, from all tale-bearing-that fruitful cause of so much evil in the Christian Church-from slander, from unkind insinuations, and from going from house to house retailing evil, and making the imperfections, the errors, or the doings of others the theme of idle, sinful gossip-“busy-bodies in other men’s matters.” All this is utterly inconsistent with our high and holy calling. It is degrading, dishonoring, lowering to our character as the children of God. It dims the luster of our piety. It impairs our moral influence in the world. Ought not the character of a Christian professor to be as dear to me as my own? And ought I not as vigilantly to watch over it, and as zealously to promote it, and as indignantly to vindicate it, when unjustly aspersed or maliciously assailed, as if I, and not he, were the sufferer? How can the reputation of a believer in Jesus be affected, and we not be affected? It is our common Lord who is wounded-it is our common salvation that is injured-it is our own family that is maligned. And our love to Jesus, to His truth, and to His people, should caution us to be as jealous of the honor, as tender of the feelings, and as watchful of the character and reputation, of each member of the Lord’s family, be his denomination what it may, as of our own. “Who is weak,” says the apostle, “and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” Oh how graciously, how kindly does our God deal with His people! Laying His hand upon their many spots, He seems to say, “No eye but mine shall see them.” Oh! let us in this particular be “imitators of God, as dear children.” Thus shall we more clearly evidence to others, and be assured ourselves, that have “passed from death unto life.”