Philippians 1:27-30 Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. (Message Bible)
Today as I was reading through this passage I was reminded of an article I read yesterday, out of the L.A. Times. It’s simply the most depressing story I’ve read in months, about a Religion Beat reporter, and how the religious people he covered led him down a path of doubt, and eventually led him into total unbelief. This passage in Philippians is an encourager to me, because it reminds me that I cannot control the sometimes stupid behavior of others, but I am responsible for my own behavior. How absurd is it to let the mistakes of others determine my level of faith? I will not let myself get hung up on these ever growing mistakes made by others, but I will choose to learn from these mistakes, and let my faith deepen throughout this journey of my life. How I treat others, how I do my job, how I treat my family, everything I do should be a “credit to the Message of Christ.”
Watching the mistakes and failings of those claiming to represent Christ sting me sometimes, but ultimately I am responsible for my own conduct, and hope that by living a worthy life I can somehow help those around me to avoid the pratfalls of so many before us.