“He Won’t Bite...He’s Just a Pit”
     The news this week told about an Irving woman who died of injuries suffered when her two Pit Bull Terriers attacked her.  The dogs had been quarantined in an animal shelter because they had bitten another person previously.  The story was posted on Facebook with this comment:  “You'll have a hard time finding a story like this about Labradors.”
   Truth! This comes after other such stories recently of maulings by this breed of dog.  It is their reputation, and in spite of Pit Bull Terrier lovers’ arguments in their defense, the breed has a bad reputation.  Even affectionate dog-owner relationships do not prevent it, and make it hard to understand.  Pits reputation has even led to some insurance companies not providing liability coverage for their attacks.  Several months ago a tenant brought home one for his teenage son.  He already had a Lab, which was allowed, but when he was told he could not have the Pit because of their reputation, the tenant rebelled, said he would not give up the dog, and was evicted. Management could not afford the liability risk of its reputation IF it attacked someone.
   Reputation is important.  You probably never heard spoken the title of this article. And OUR reputation is.  We often say “Character is what you really are, but reputation is what others think you are.” They are not always the same, so how are we doing?  Why is Christianity sometimes maligned for its adherents being “unChristian?”  In this country we are not living today in the world of yesterday, where evil behavior of most kinds was shameful and not promoted.  Christians today have a hard time adjusting to the energy with which immoral and anti-Christian elements target our Bible-based actions and faith.  Some Christians have reacted with hate messages directed at the anti-Christian groups and politicians, and worse have reacted violently.  Our message is tarnished if a hateful reputation (distorted to be sure) is given us and used against us.  Make no mistake:  these ungodly forces relish seeing a Christian behave in an unChristian fashion.
The comment which was made about Labradors indicates a different reputation, and like their reputation we also should be known as gentle, kind, well-behaved. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6 ESV). Paul said, “I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” (Acts 24:16). Jesus increased in wisdom and in favor with God and man (Lk. 2:52). The wisdom of Proverbs 22:1 teaches us: “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.” Peter cautions, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12).
As little children we sang, “O Be Careful little mouth what you say...There’s a Father up above and He’s looking down with love, O Be Careful little mouth what you say.” Yes He is. And others are also. Be careful out there.            --Ray Wells



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