On Reputations

12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?

18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. 2 Corinthians 1:12-21

It sounds like someone had spoken bad about Paul prior to his arrival, and that he was fickle, saying one thing and promising another. It was important for Paul to set the record straight. His solid reputation was at stake.

We’ve all experienced this to one degree or another. We are accused and we need to “clear the air,” so to speak. It takes a lot of wisdom to know when to do this and when to just “let it go.” Of course there are times when you need to defend yourself or your position, but not always. It’s tough when your name and reputation are being maligned. There is a line to be drawn but it’s different for each of us.

Similarly, it’s easy to destroy a reputation with unkind and dishonest words, even if you feel justified in saying them. When someone’s reputation is on the line, we need to choose our words carefully.

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