Current weather conditions

Click for Dexter, Iowa Forecast

Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



     Wayne Dyer once said, “Your reputation is in the hands of others. That’s what the reputation is. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control is your character.” It sums up a little internal struggle I’ve been having this week. I will be the first to admit that like every single person on the face of the planet I generally have an opinion about another person based upon my own experience with them. Some of them are good and some are bad, and in a few cases they probably should be reversed, but it is and unfortunate part of our nature to judge people.

     I had the opportunity to meet someone this week that I didn’t know very well, but found that we had some things in common. After I listened to what others said about this person and was somewhat disturbed by it. I’ve often thought that one’s reputation is based upon your actions, but more often than not based on things you didn’t do. It is easy for a rumor to begin, or for things to be taken out of context, or to be given a reputation based off of your family or perhaps your experience growing up.

     Maybe the best way I can make my point here, and I’m sorry if this sounds shocking to some of you, but let’s be quite honest here. Growing up in a small town in the middle of Iowa if a black person walked down the street, it made people stop and stare. Perhaps this has happened to you before? Did you already judge that person, or base their reputation off of what others had done? Granted, the incident that I was a part of wasn’t exactly like this but it still bothered me just the same.

     The English language has too many horrible words in it. “Slow, Dumb, Easy, Poor, Tramp, Weak, Stupid, Short…..and that just starts the list, most of which I wouldn’t print in a small town paper. Why do we use these words to describe people? Are you and I so unsure of our own self, that we find it easier to beat down someone else when it may or may not be deserved? And when we do it, we do it without thought, and without thinking the way our words may hurt even if they never reach the ears of the person we are saying them about. Is it any wonder that we have a bullying problem in our schools? (Although that isn’t a new thing.)

     Just a few weeks ago in our Youth Group at church we talked about the groups or cliques at school and how they compared to the caste systems in India and in ancient Jewish culture at the time of Jesus. Can you imagine being labeled at birth and being stuck in that space for your entire life? Teenagers can be the worst at this, especially teen girls, who will attack someone just to do so out of spite and label another classmate for life. Do you remember the girl in school who was labeled as “Easy” because she supposedly had kissed a boy, but who in all actuality was shy and reserved and never deserved that label she received? What I spent that evening talking to the kids about, and what they eventually discovered was in reality there aren’t different groups or castes but really there is only one group which we are all apart of and that is “children of God.”

     Shouldn’t we treat each person as a child of God? I’ll be honest, maybe some of this person’s reputation is their own doing, but regardless does that make that person who they will always be? Are you still the person who you were “labeled” as before? I’m sure we all at some point earned a reputation that we aren’t really happy about, but that doesn’t mean we should always be that person. And should we, as a son or daughter of God, treat and speak of another son or daughter with the same grace and love that our Father shows us? Isn’t that in the end what we are put on earth to do? Not to tear down, but to build up, not to destroy but to encourage. It just seems to me that in the end if we all watched our own words and actions a little more, we just might find ourselves treating people in the way we’ve been taught all along.

See you next week….remember, we’re all in this together.