To reproach is to find fault. To find fault is to criticize. To criticize is to judge. To judge is to condemn. To condemn is to cast away. Shall we cast away the bond of friendship? Shall we put on the judicial Robes of God? Because which is worse: the sin we see in someone else or the judgement God sees in us?
'There is one Lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?' (James 4:12).
I am guilty of judgment. The fault-finding finger of old Carey still fidgets. It seems to have a will of its own--too easily pointing toward others. Can 'The accuser of our brethren' (Revelation 12:10) accuse through me? If I give him an opening, he'll take it. God forbid!
To 'Take up' a reproach adds insult to the injury of condemnation in two ways:
1) To 'Take up' means to carry or publicize: In this case, to expose a sin or spread a rumor; 'A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful Spirit conceals a matter' (Proverbs 11:13).
2) To 'Take up' a reproach against a friend is even worse. In so doing, we condemn, rather than defend, a loved one. If Jesus covered our sins with His Blood, shouldn't we cover the sins of our friends with our mercy? 'Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins' (1 Peter 4:8).
Through the grace of God, we must grow up--no longer to be kids who shout, 'It's your fault,' or teens who whisper, 'Did you hear what happened?' 'A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression' (Proverbs 19:11).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: when it comes to reproach, keep your heart open and your mouth shut. 'Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless' (James 1:26).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Twelve Steps To Heaven series.