Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: above reproach
By Dan King
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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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