Whether we are Christian or not, we all understand the effect of our reputation. If we are known to be cruel business dealers, people won’t do business with us. If we are known to be honorable and fair, our business will flourish. The same is true for our faith and our Churches.
Brethren, you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.1st Thessalonians 1:6-10
The reputation of the Thessalonian Christians was positive. Their reputation had gone out to various regions and inspired others to believe in Christ. Everywhere you turned, people said good things about them. Saint Paul was very proud to be their teacher.
Have you wondered what reputation you have beyond your home? Are you known to be a fair and honorable Christian? Do others use your name to inspire others to follow Christ? You may not even want this burden, but no matter what your reputation is as a Christian, you cannot escape it. Instead of trying to escape your reputation, try changing it. If you are thought of as a hypocrite because you say one thing and do another, you have the power to change.
Of course, there are always two sides to every story. Chances are pretty good that some people will do their best to tarnish your reputation. In those cases, act with grace and mercy toward them. The way you respond will either confirm or reject the false reputation that has spread about you. The calendar of saints is filled with those who had ‘a bad name’ among the nonbelievers.
The Thessalonians were not perfect Christians. If they were, Saint Paul wouldn’t have had reason to write to them as he did. When it comes to have a good Christian reputation, it isn’t about being perfect. It is about love and repentance.
Allow the good reputation of the Thessalonians inspire you to a life of love and repentance. Become imitators of them, as they imitated Saint Paul, who imitated Christ.