As I was walking out of Target yesterday I passed a man coming into the store that gave me a look of hesitant recognition. He was about to say something to me but then simply passed on by. I didn’t recognize him. But it was one of those moments when I rifled through the file cabinet of my mind searching for a musty folder that could provide the context of our relationship. Being a pastor in the same community for over 30 years often does that to me.
That led to me to wondering how often people who recognize me may have been observing my life and behavior unbeknownst to me. That is a sobering thought, and ample motivation for any person to be on their best behavior. But what if I were having a bad day? What if, for some devilish reason, I forgot who I was? What if I were to behave in a way that was not becoming a decent human being, a godly man, a pastor or most importantly God’s representative? That would not be good. It is sad but true that when you forget who you are people are going to remember it. Just ask Michael Richards or Mel Gibson. In the age of viral media and the likes of YouTube it won’t take long before everybody knows.
Now I know all of us have had our bad days, haven’t always handled it well and have deeply regretted it – all the more reason to remember who we are. A reputation is as stake and it is not just ours, it is Gods. Proverbs 22:1 says “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
Here’s the bottom line. How I behave on a bad day may be how people think I am on a normal day and that will be remembered forever and a day.