I saw a man yesterday who has endeared himself to thousands of people. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him personally, but I know he has a reputation for being humble, caring, and generous. The reason this fact is noteworthy is that a few years ago I spoke to one of his ex-schoolmates. When I mentioned his name, he went on to say how conceited, arrogant, and disliked the man in question was during his high school years. I found it hard to believe because this man today is the total opposite of his ex-schoolmate’s assessment. I chose not to respond because this man too has gained my respect. As I was trying to figure out our totally different perceptions of the same man, I remembered this fact: People change.
Two men came to mind, one real, the other fictitious. In the classic Charles Dickens story, the Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge had a reputation for being a cruel and uncaring miser. By the end of the story, he is a completely different man. In real life, we have the story of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist who became rich and famous when he invented dynamite in 1867. Years later when his brother died, A French newspaper thought it was him and promptly published his obituary in the which they condemned him for his invention of Dynamite. His obituary read, in part: "The merchant of death is dead. Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." Reading that mistaken obituary notice of himself changed his life. He changed his will and upon his death, he left 9 million dollars to reward persons around the world annually who have made great contributions in their fields. Today, Alfred Nobel is known as the Father of the Nobel Peace Prizes, not “the Merchant of Death.”
People today are still changing the perception others have of them. Many of you who are reading this article today have done that very same thing. In our case, we were only able to do so because of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Because of Christ, our reputations have changed. If yours could use some improvement, why don't you ask Him to take control of your life as well? With Him in your life, things will be different and I bet you’ll love the new you.
Memory verse for the week: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)