Beware: People remember when you forget

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.

3 thoughts on “Beware: People remember when you forget”

  1. Scott Sanford

    Pastor Tom,

    Great blogs, I’m enjoying your posts! This reminds me of my time in the US Navy during one of my many tours of duty. It was early 1987, I was checking into VP-5 in Jacksonville, Florida. As I was walking the ladder (Stairs) to topside (upstairs) where the administrative offices were located to check into this new command, I came to the top landing and there was a full size mirror facing me. Above it was a message that read “Your first impression may be your only impression – Make It Positive!” I had never seen this anywhere before. I stopped and checked myself over, ensuring I was squared away to make that positive first impression. That was a turning point in my career and attitude. Funny how something that simple can completely change a persons perspective!

  2. This is especially crucial when you are at work because, like family – we do not get to choose our coworkers and for 8 to 10 hours a day, they are our family for better or for worse. I once worked in a factory and the vast majority of workers there were immigrants from other nations. One day out of the clear blue one young man approached me and asked me outright ‘Are you a Christian?’ I replied yes and he said “I thought so.” I asked him what prompted him to come to that conclusion and he replied that it was because of how I treated people nicely and how I talked to them. This was a sobering experience and made me keenly aware of just how often people do observe us, particularily when they know or suspect that you claim to be a Christian.

  3. It is challenging and thought provoking to become conscious every moment of our attitudes, since our Father is watching us at every moment. He is concerned whether His Glory is shining on my face or I am putting Him to shame. Let me be at my best. The Life is short, let me live fast and appropriately. That leads me to be subject to correction and improvement every day.

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