The Richness of Reputation: A Lesson in Teachability


One of the most common complaints that I hear about Christians is that we are too arrogant. We come across to the world as a group of religious know-it-alls who have no regard for the worldviews or opinions of other people.

This should be one of our greatest concerns as a people who are hopelessly in love with Jesus.

If our desire is to see people set free through the transformational power of Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we also have the desire to understand what that person needs to be set free from?

Though I am not directly opposed to street evangelism (in which a person selected at random is approached by an evangelist with a bold presentation of the Gospel), I do have one pretty major issue with it: it portrays, yet again, the stereotypical image of self-absorbed Christians who have no regard for the condition of a person’s present quality of life, but only their eternal destination.

If you’re homeless, we will feed you and give you clothing. If you are found begging on the street corner, we will give you money. But if you are in a state of inescapable mental depression, we will answer you with a half-hearted “I’ll be praying for you”. If you are suffering from a broken heart, we will simply resort to telling you that you need Jesus.

This is what the world sees. This is what the world thinks of us. I often wonder how many people would fall in love with Jesus if only His followers weren’t standing in the way. The loving kindness of Jesus draws people in effortlessly – it’s the poor behavior of those who call themselves Christians that turns them away.

The truth is that I believe those who are truly making an effort to be more like Christ are heartbroken by these words. The love of Jesus has shaken us to the very core, and our greatest desire is to see the same thing happen to our friends and family, to our brothers and sisters who we may not even know yet.

If we are truly aiming to align our lives with the mantra “what would Jesus do?”, then we need to start taking that question seriously. What would Jesus do? How would He live?

However, many people, especially in this decade, have taken up a “who cares what they think” kind of mindset, in which happiness prevails over reputation. The problem with this is that we can not hope to present the Gospel in a positive way if we are hauling around a negative reputation. If our reputation has been ruined, our ministry has been also.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

But how do we go about changing this? How can we reverse the mindset that most people have towards Christianity as a whole? The answer is simple: be teachable. What does this mean? To have a teachable spirit means admitting that you don’t know everything and you never will. It means having a desire to learn from anyone and everyone you can. It means trying your best, never giving up, and admitting when you’re wrong.

There is another word for this: humility.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5

When we choose to forfeit our pride in pursuit of a teachable spirit, it changes the way that people see us. Rather than labeling all Christians with arrogance, the world will begin to see Jesus in and through us.

“Out of 100 unsaved men, one might read the Bible, but the other 99 will read the Christan.” -D.L. Moody


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