by: Richard W Black
Honesty is such a tricky part of life. I’ve struggled with it, but have always tried to be honest. I was once accused of lying by a grade school teacher. My friend passed me a note wondering if we were going to make up a kickball team at recess. He had the misfortune of doing it while we were taking a test and the teacher only saw me take the note, right a response and return it. While everyone else went to recess, we were made to stay and answer for cheating on the test. My buddy had destroyed the note so we had no proof that we were not cheaters. The teacher even sent a note home to my parents. I was devastated to be labeled a cheater and a liar. I told me parents what happened and they believed me. I have no idea what was in the note they sent back to the teacher, but he later apologized after a fashion for the accusations. Nevertheless, I lost all respect for him and never liked him or his class for the rest of the year. After all, where was I to go to get back my reputation? I did not think about it in those terms then, but it was the feelings I had at the time as a young boy.
As I work on a story about Joseph of the Coat-of-Many-Colors fame, I am reminded of how he tried to live a life of honesty among wicked people and paid a price for it. Innocent, he was condemned.
Ironically, there are those who are guilty, caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar yet claim to be innocent and demand their reputations be returned to them. They move on to indignant when the accusations follow them like an evil shadow, cast over everything they are, say and do. That is the curse of a bad reputation; earned or unearned.
Let us consider what kind of reputation we have, what kind we want to have and how we might make them one and the same. Not an easy job.