Mankind’s first murder quickly made its way into history. And I’m not just talking about the fact that it’s documented in the Bible.
It seems that after Cain killed Abel, word spread that killing another human being was actually a thing that people could do. And the potential for it to happen again was out there. A certain individual mentioned in Genesis chapter 4 built his entire reputation on the idea that he was ready and willing to kill if the need should arise.
That kind of reputation makes it pretty easy to control how other people behave around you.
But Jesus introduced a different type of reputation that is actually even more powerful, albeit more difficult to attain.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Matthew 18:21,22).
The reputation Jesus taught would leave a person incredibly vulnerable to being used as a doormat. It would call for extraordinary love and patience. It would leave no promise of getting what you want.
But it’s the reputation that Jesus has with you—a reputation that’s founded on stubborn forgiveness.
How you live today will contribute to your reputation. Instilling fear in others will immediately change their behavior around you. But only a reputation based on forgiveness has the power to change hearts.