Living Beyond Reproach
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach . . . 1 Timothy 3:2
As I was driving through Minneapolis yesterday, I drove down I-35W, which goes right by the treatment center I went to back in 2014. I don’t drive by it very often and so, when I do, it always brings back a lot of memories – not a lot of good ones. It was a defining moment in my life, but it was also a pretty rough time in my life, during which I experienced a lot of shame. While there, I knew that everyone else knew what I’d been trying to hide – I had an addiction and had engaged in very self-destructive behavior. Among my other problems – my career and marriage were a disaster – I felt like everyone was talking about me.
And I’m sure they were. I can’t blame them. It was big news. I was an Emergency Room physician. I was a Christian. I was a family man. Yet, I was hiding this big, bad, terribly destructive secret. When it came to light, it was only natural that others would discuss it. I doubt that I’m rarely at the center of most people’s thoughts, but for that one moment, I gave everyone something to talk about.
In today’s passage, Paul continued his instructions on overseers – or pastors of the church. In it, he said that a pastor must live above reproach. We’re not all called to be pastors, but as Christians, we are all ministers of the gospel and as such, we all represent Christ. We may not ever take on a leadership position in the church, but as representatives of Christ, we too, should live beyond reproach. When we give others something evil to talk about us, we damage not just ourselves, but also the cause of Christ.
When we indulge in our lust, addictions, anger, resentments, pride, greed, gluttony, and selfishness, we try to hide those things from others. We try to hide because we know that others will talk and judge. We can say that others shouldn’t judge, gossip, or talk, but our sin is no one else’s fault. As Christians, we’re Christ’s representatives here on Earth. One of the things that the world hates most about Christians is our hypocrisy. Daily then, we must look at our lives, asking if we’re living beyond reproach. Or, are we giving others something evil to talk about us – and Christ?