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Summary: God says that we must never be guilty of lying on our neighbor thereby causing him to suffer. We are exhorted to always be truthful and absolutely honest when dealing with another person.

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How to Handle Your Neighbor’s Reputation

Exodus 20:16

Introduction

As we continue to go through the Ten Commandments, we find ourselves at the 9th Commandment which has to do with controlling One’s tongue. A very important, but extremely difficult task. James tells us that the tongue cannot be tamed, in James 3:1-8. However, Jesus reminds us that we can do all things through him, who strengthens us. Therefore, there is absolutely no excuse for a big mouth! We have an alter that is about 24 feet across. This should be sufficient space for just about anyone to lay their tongue on it and get it under control. Few people realize the awesome, destructive power of the human tongue. Because of a misspoken word, homes have been splintered, reputations shattered and lives literally destroyed and even ended. That little piece of muscle that lies in your mouth behind your lips can bless or bruise, heal or hurt, love or lambaste. It all depends upon how you decide to use it.

This verse deals primarily with one’s testimony in a trial setting. God says that we must never be guilty of lying on our neighbor thereby causing him to suffer. We are exhorted to always be truthful and absolutely honest when dealing with another person. As we consider some of what god has said about the tongue, may He help us to understand that every time we speak of another, we literally hold that person’s reputation in our hands. Today, I would like to speak for a few minutes on this thought, How to handle your neighbors reputation.

I. A Reputation is a Valuable Possession

a. According to the Bible, one’s “god name”, or reputation, is far more valuable than riches or expensive ointments according to Proverbs 22:1 and Ecclesiastes 7:1.

b. Your reputation determines the level of Respect you Receive

• No one puts much confidence in a person who is dishonest, deceptive, or otherwise living their life in a sinful, shameful manner.

o I really respect people about whom I never hear a negative remark.

• Jesus was such a man.

o Look what it says about Jesus in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

• We should do all that is in our power to see that we never allow our names to be associated with that which is disrespectful and shameful.

o It will undermine your good name and cause people to lose respect for you.

o Your life ought to be a beacon of integrity and decency.

c. Your Reputation Determines the Level of the Response you Receive

• Every Christian wants to be respected as a Christian and have their testimony be respected and responded too in a positive manner.

• The type of response that we can expect will always be determined by the kind of life others see us living!

• It has been said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.”

• In other words, the world will never believe of integrity and decency.

d. Your Reputation is Important

• It is important because what people perceive you to be is usually a fair indicator of what you really are.

• You see, your reputation is what others think you are and character is what you really are.

• However, people can misread us and misunderstand us and cause us to be something less than we actually are.

• However, as a general rule, your reputation is a direct result of your character.

• In other words, men think the way they do about you because of the way they see you act and live before them.

e. Your own Reputation is Valuable

• Therefore, guard it with your very life.

• And pray that others do the same.

• Now, you cannot be responsible for what others do with your reputation, but you are responsible for what you do with theirs.

• Keep this in mind as we go forward with this message.

II. A Reputation can be Vandalized Publicly

a. It is a Serious Thing

• When we undermine the reputation of another by the words we speak, we are guilty of destroying that person respectability and credibility before others.

o We are guilty of doing unspeakable damage to a person’s life and ministry by the words we say about them.

• I remember reading of a woman who was guilty of gossiping about her pastor. She was convicted and went to him to apologize to him and to try and make restitution for her wrongdoing. The pastor graciously accepted her apology and then told her that if she wanted to make it all right again, that she should take chicken, kill it, pluck it, carry its feathers to the top of the highest building in town and cast its feathers to the four winds. When this was done she was to return to the Pastor. She carried out his directive and returned to him. He looked at her and said, “Now go and collect every one of those feathers.” She replied, in horror, “That is impossible!” He said, “So, it is impossible for you to take back all those things you have said about me.”

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