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A reputation once destroyed is destroyed forever. Jimmy Swaggart was one of the leading evangelists in America until he was found with a prostitute. Barry Bonds, Mark Mcquire, and other baseball players who held multiple records were seen as superhuman, until they were found to be illegally superhuman with performing enhancing drugs. It takes great amounts of time and energy to gain a good reputation, but only moments for it to be ruined. Along with our body, soul, God also gives us a character and a reputation that benefits us in this life.
No one likes being talked about, being the topic of gossip, or their name being whispered through work, school, community, and church. Luther spoke of this saying, "It is intolerable to live among people in open shame and general contempt. Therefore, God does not want the reputation, good name, and upright character of our neighbor to be taken away or diminished." (Large Catechism I.256). God desires us and all around us to live, not in public shame, but in public honor. Even if we openly disagree with society, God does not want our character to be dragged through the mud; therefore, we should never drag our neighbor's name and reputation through the mud. May the Holy Spirit create in us contrite hearts that turn away from gossip and instead put the best construction on our neighbor. May he bring us a righteous shame and guilt that repents and desires to walk in righteousness.
For Jesus doesn't drag us through the mud. He is a our great Intercessor who always puts the best construction on us. When we sin, He doesn't stand in heaven and say, "I told you, Dad. These sinners will keep failing and rejecting you in their sin." No. Jesus doesn't say anything bad about you, nor does He ruin your reputation and standing before His Father and your Father. When you sin and fail, Jesus doesn't uncover your sin, but instead covers it up in His righteousness. Jesus covers you in His obedience and good standing. Jesus speaks well of you and gives you the ultimate honor of being a citizen of heaven. This is your assurance, not that you gain a good reputation by means of your own merit and sweat. No, but rather that your reputation with the Father stands good forever because of Jesus' love and forgiveness for you.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I love you. I forgive you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.