Is your reputation good, bad, or beautiful?

The other day, I was reading about King Solomon dedicating the temple. Shortly after the temple was completed, all of the sacrifices were made, and the prayers recited, the LORD spoke to Solomon (2 Chronicles 7: 11-18). The LORD reminded Solomon that: “…if you walk before Me as your father David walked… I will establish your royal throne…” (1 Chronicles 7: 17-18). I thought to myself, David didn’t walk all that awesomely before the LORD. Far from it. For goodness sake, he killed a man that was married to the woman he committed adultery with at best, raped at worst. If Solomon walked before the LORD as David’s reputation attested to, that didn’t seem to be a super high bar. Why would God say that?

Our sin and God

But then, the LORD reminded me that when God said He removes our sins as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12), He really meant it. When the LORD thought of David, He didn’t see an adulterous murderer (which is who I obviously got a glimpse of in my mind). Who He saw was a shepherd boy that wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody, especially those who would dare to speak against the LORD. He saw a man who loved God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. David didn’t deserve that grace. I don’t deserve that grace. But wow, am I glad He extends that grace to those who repent of their sin (Psalm 51) and accept Him as both LORD and Savior.

What’s your name?

However, then I got to thinking about Rahab. I’ve often thought about how she is repeatedly spoken of as Rahab, the harlot. Or Rahab, the prostitute (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25). And all I can think of is, OUCH! Can we please soften the label a touch?? If David can be seen as a righteous man, why not Rahab?

And then there’s Doubting Thomas. I understand that’s not his official name in the bible, but still. Catholic tradition has dubbed him as such, and the name has stuck. Clearly a lot of that has to do with the fact that the last time Thomas is mentioned in the bible is when Jesus comes to him to prove that it’s truly Jesus, in the flesh. Holes and all (John 20)!

Even though Thomas died in India sharing his faith, his legacy would never shake that last biblical memory of him. How is that fair?


Shortly after thinking about all of these people of the bible, I had an epiphany. I remembered Steve Deace (if you don’t listen to his podcast, you need to) once talking about a broken lantern. I’m certain I’m going to butcher this story, but essentially this wonky lantern had lots of holes in it, and didn’t look like it would be much good for anything. However, when a light was placed inside of it, the light shone all the more and better through it. The cracks and breaks were what allowed the light to shine through it.

The beauty of even bad names

And then I realized whether we have reputations that are something like Rahab the Harlot’s, or Doubting Thomas’s, or King David’s, ultimately it doesn’t matter. What matters is how we allow Jesus to shine brightly through us. God is so gracious that He can use broken people like the three mentioned above (and like each and every one of us), and do something beautiful.

In many ways, it obviously matters what people remember about us. But I love that although history may remember our sins, Jesus can still be honored and glorified in each of His faithful children. Each of our lives can undoubtedly and unimaginably give glory to a holy and righteous God. It’s incredible to think that in His sovereignty, each of our lives can have an impact for His kingdom. Whether we are remembered in an unflattering or flattering light is not what’s most important. What matters most is that God is honored.

What’s this life about?

This life is not about us. But it’s such a glorious and gracious thing that God allows us to be used for His glory and our good. I am so thankful that all of my mess of cracks and breaks in my life lamp (i.e. essentially my ashes), can be exchanged for something beautiful (Isaiah 61:3).

It’s always inspiring to read about how God continues to work in the lives of people! Check out some of these Christian autobiographies and Christian biographies and be encouraged, friends!

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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