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The Testimony of Others
"Here I am. Witness against me before the LORD and before His
anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I
cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe
with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you." And they said,
"You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from
any man's hand." (1 Samuel 12:3-4)
There is a freedom that comes in having nothing to hide. Living a life
of integrity allows you this freedom. Your integrity is measured not by what
you say about yourself but by what God and people say about you. Samuel had
lived all his life among the people of God. Leaders who preceded him were
dishonest and corrupt; it would have been easy for Samuel to compromise in his
dealings as well. Near the end of his life, however, Samuel could boldly stand
before his nation and ask them to reveal any offense he had committed against
any of them. They could not think of one.
In his position of leadership, Samuel could have taken advantage of
people. Yet because he carefully guarded his motives and kept his relationships
blameless, Samuel could fearlessly ask the people to report if he had mistreated
them in any way. It takes courage to open your life up to the scrutiny of
others, but Samuel did not fear what others would say about him. He did not
have to avoid anyone whom he had offended. He had a confidence that comes from
living a blameless life.
If you have mistreated others, you cannot change the past, but you can
choose to live with absolute integrity from this day forward. Living
righteously frees you to face any person unashamedly, knowing you have behaved
in a Christlike manner. If your reputation is stained, seek forgiveness from
those you have offended. Ask God to guide you daily in your relationships so
that you have no regrets about your treatment of others.