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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: above reproach
By Dan King


I was watching one of the news channels recently, and I heard a report about how someone had gotten fired from their job after their employer had discovered that they were lying to them about calling in sick. Apparently, after this person called in sick, they went out on a fishing trip with some buddies and a bunch of beer, and then posted the pictures from it on their MySpace account. Somehow these pictures on the Internet came to the attention of the employer, who was outraged and ended up letting the employee go. One of the "guest experts" on this news report also talking about how many employers do web searches these days while screening potential employees. If they find something online (like on a MySpace account, YouTube, or some blog) that brings that person's character into question, then they use that information in making their decision to hire that person or not. Amazingly, the guy was a bit surprised by his "unwarranted" release.

There is no doubt that we live in an age where information can travel far and fast, and some people may complain that employers have no right to use that information in making hiring or firing decisions. Nonetheless, people have more tools these days to put their image (whatever image they choose) out there for people to see. My point here is not whether it is right for employers to use information like that or not, but it is around the responsibility that we have as leaders to manage our image. When Paul wrote to Timothy about elder qualifications, the first one was being "above reproach".

But what does it really mean to be "above reproach"? Well, the word reproach means "to find fault with" or "disgrace, discredit, or blame incurred". To be "above" it means that people cannot find fault or blame with you. Does this mean that you are simply good at hiding things or keeping secrets? Absolutely not. That was not Paul's intention when he wrote this passage. Being above reproach means living a life that is honorable and blameless. I believe that it also includes how you manage your image, because that is how people discover what kind of life you live.

What does it take to live a life that is above reproach? I think that the answer to this question starts with a vision. You must have a vision or direction for your life and what you want it to represent. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says that, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Without vision you end up wandering aimlessly through life. The thing is that your actions are going to be a reflection of what your vision (chazown) is for your life. For example, if you want to live a life that shows your kids how to live with honor and integrity, then things like your MySpace account are going to show that. If you have no vision or higher purpose, then you will likely not care what you put out there, and likely think that you can get away with presenting a "false" image of yourself when it is "important". The truth is that everything is important if you are to live a life above reproach.

The next thing is that you recognize the importance of having a strong accountability system in place. And when I say this I mean a real, open, honest, no-holds-barred accountability. It is important to have people that you can talk to about anything, and that you allow to speak honestly into your life. The point is that once you have a vision to live up to, that you don't rely solely on yourself to keep yourself on track. It is always good to have an extra set of eyes looking at your life, and helping you by sharing things that you may not see or notice.

Having a vision and an accountability system will help you to live a life that is above reproach. But, it is not easy. It requires a great deal of dedication on your part. But, man, it is totally worth it! The best part is that you never have to worry about something coming back to bite you in the butt later...

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This article has been read 542 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/16/07
Every teen and college student should heed this warning! This was well-organized and well thought out.

It may be just a tad light on the topic of "surprised," however.

Thanks for encouraging all of us to be aware of our image in the world.
Ann Renae Hair09/16/07
Very informative and challenging article. The first paragraph could inspire a fictional account that would emphasize the topic a little better. Otherwise, it was very easy to read and connect with your thoughts here.
Carol Shaffron09/19/07
Somehow it reminds me of the show, America's Dumbest Criminals. But your piece is very sobering to say the least. Yes, no doubt the employee was surprised to be dismissed by his own blunder no less.
Joanne Sher 09/21/07
Congratulations Dan. Your entry has placed 14th in Level 1. With all the Level 1 entries, that is really quite an accomplishment. The Lists for the Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 overall is available in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings forum of our Faithwriters Message Boards.