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A Tale of Two- Peter and Paul on the Church’s Great Controversy

We pay close attention to Paul’s miraculous conversion, but not so much to Peter’s.

Peter had a divine calling from the Master Himself, and he returned back to Christ after his denial. But I’m not referring to these conversions.

Peter was alone and hungry. He was on a rooftop alone. Then he began hallucinating. Animals of all types came down from heaven. It was food he was invited to take part in to stop his hunger. But he said no. Not only that, but he denied the invitation in a style that was typical Peter. Not just no, but no way. Never. I’ve never eaten anything that is common or unclean.

Peter’s testimony around 24 hours later is much different. “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I am doing what is unlawful to do, because God said so. And there appears to have been no hesitation in his doing so. At a weak point, in an hour of prayer, God spoke to Peter and completely upended the scale; he destroyed the measurement by which righteous and unrighteous was defined. Peter wrote about it later: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9-10‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Peter was right there at the moment this came to pass. He saw the switch flip in the Gentiles’ favor.

And what were his instructions to them?

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:11-12‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:15-16‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:19-20‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In Acts 15, Peter testified yet again.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭15:7-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

The final verdict of James included a quote from Amos 9:11. James’ words:
“Simon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭15:14-18‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

Amos’ words:
“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this.”
‭‭Amos‬ ‭9:11-12‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

So we have 2 testimonies- 2 witnesses- to the fact that God saved the Gentiles apart from following the works of the law:
1) Peter’s experience
2) The prophets

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Paul called on the words of another Old Testament prophet in Galatians 3:11. In Paul’s defense of the Gentile believers, he proved that the promise offered long ago to Abraham was by faith, not by the law.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:1, 6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Paul would be at odds with Peter at a certain point, regarding, if not the substance of what Peter taught, then certainly regarding Peter’s behavior among the Gentiles.

“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:11-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Paul must have included this story to the Galatians to show them how important it was to him that the Gentile Christians remain free from any regulations that Christ had done away with at His death, burial, and resurrection. Not knowing the “why” of Peter’s behavior in his own words, all we know for sure is that his example in pulling away from the Gentile believers while at Antioch caused others to pull away as well, leaving these young Christians with a potential stumbling block.

After all of this, old, wise Apostle Peter still commended Paul for speaking truth and wisdom: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:15-16‬ ‭KJV‬‬

We’re left to wonder how the relationship between the Two ended. But we can have no doubt that they both faithfully, even if not perfectly, preached the truth in love and paved the way for a glorious Church.

Pro-life: I Don’t Think That Means What You Think It Means…

My wife and I are pro-life to the core. It started with our intentional decision to hold sex until marriage, then to marry and have children that we would love and raise into adulthood, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It extended to prayers for those considering abortion, and donations to our local crisis pregnancy center, Birth Choice in Jackson, TN.
One day in late July or early August 2013, Julie said, “We need to see how we can be more involved in pro-life work.” So I sent an email to the info email address for Tennessee Right To Life, which led to a meeting in very short order, followed by us dedicating the next year and 2 months to campaigning for pro-life Amendment 1. This state constitution amendment, which took 11 years to be approved for referendum and 3 additional years to appear on the ballot, erased a “right to abortion” that had been unilaterally decided by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000.
The amendment passed, and our State’s children and families are safer for it.
We Conservatives are often mischaracterized as being pro-birth, not pro-life. The reason for that is that we do not support big government initiatives that tank the economy, reduce wages, and promote dependence. Some of my earliest memories are of going with my mother to nursing homes and ministering to our elders on a monthly, sometimes weekly, basis. I learned to respect them and value their lives. I grew to join the ministry and become a counselor to at-risk young people. I counsel suicidal youth, many with severe mental health problems. Their lives matter, every last one of them.
The things government does, particularly at the state and local levels, have real-world impact on how families are able to provide for themselves. Declaring everyone “covered” at great cost to consumers and insurance companies does not mean payment will be made when you go to the doctor. I know people who found that out the hard way. My parents have changed insurers 3 times, and the out-of-paycheck amount for my group policy at work has gone up drastically. This impacts the lives of adults and children.
The price of gas and groceries impacts life on a daily basis, and both are about to go up in Tennessee, thanks to a fuel tax increase. They say it’s a net tax decrease, but it isn’t. We have been consigned to hardship, the likes of which we won’t fully know for a while, to make a slush fund a lot more slushy for politicians and special interests.
I believe with all my being that a person should not be discriminated against and marked for annihilation based on his or her age, development, location, or level of dependence on others. That’s what abortion does. I believe that people should have the freedom to secure their liberty and pursue happiness to the fullest extent, with minimum interference, in the greatest land on Earth. This is a place where charity and opportunity abound, where one may mess up, try again, and succeed. That is the Conservative viewpoint: cradle to grave, everyone should have opportunity, no one should have their rights infringed.
This land, however, also is now a land in which entitlement is out the roof and respect for the law and for others has tanked.
Allow me to ask- how is it that, especially in Tennessee, we have so many pro-birth elected employees, but so few who are actually pro-life? They want to make it harder to protect our homes, earn our livings, run our businesses, have vital services like healthcare, and drive up the costs of education, while claiming to be pro-life. I don’t think so. I know we can do better; I pray that we do.

A Tale of Two- The Apostle Paul

Why talk about the Two? Why compare Peter and Paul?
These Two are the two about whom the bulk of the book of Acts is written.
The acts of these two men exemplify the Acts of the Apostles, which really ought to be known as the Acts of the Holy Spirit.
They were men so closely connected to the will of the Spirit, and yet still so completely human- zealous, judgmental, prone to mistakes, but so dedicated to the mission that nothing could tear them away from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

“Saul! Saul!” We don’t know the name of the mother who may have yelled out this name from the doorway of her home in Tarsus. “It’s getting dark! Come inside!” The children would look at this young boy with two names, who spent so much time in the synagogue and dressed in traditional Hebrew attire. There may have always been confusion as to why his mother yelled out the name Saul. And Saul may have winced when he heard the name. Among his friends, he was known as Paul. When he heard the name Saul, not only was play time over, but he was reminded that he was different from the neighborhood kids with whom he played. His connection to those kids would have been the fact that he had a name common to them, and possibly that when he wasn’t in the synagogue school, he was learning a trade, from his father or from an artisan in town. They each had one. Paul was to be a tentmaker.

But that was plan B. The name Saul also was a reminder that his first dedication was to the Torah and the Jewish traditions, to rabbinical teachings and Pharisaical precision- to carry out he whole law of God, as it was understood. I imagine Saul experienced small incongruities as he grew up in a Roman-dominated, multicultural city in Cilicia, such as being called one thing by his mother but a different name by his friends. Like when you want to be called by your middle name but your folks keep calling you by your first.

But by the time Saul was an adult, he had fully integrated his Roman citizenship with his Hebrew ethnicity and culture. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:22‬ ‭KJV‬‬) is not something Saul learned after becoming an apostle. He had learned to use his duel citizenship to its advantage, to have an audience before the high priest, and to move around all over the Roman Empire as he saw fit to carry out his mission, whether for good or evil.‬‬

“Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭22:1-5‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬
Paul stood before an angry crowd in Jerusalem, accused of teaching contrary to the law, and bringing a Greek into the temple. His accusers, Acts 21:27 says, were Jews of Asia. They were from the territory where Paul had carried out his missions for Christ.

His missions for Christ following his conversion had gone on for somewhere between 10-20 years at this point, and had carried him from Jerusalem to Macedonia, over the course of 3 distinct missionary journeys. His first, in Acts chapters 13 and 14, set the pattern for the missions work to come.

Paul preached to the Jew first. Acts 13:16-41 is his sermon, in the mode of Peter’s earlier sermons, calling on the Jews to recognize the error of crucifying Christ, evidenced by the prophecies of the Old Testament. He declared Jesus to be the Christ, as Peter had done. He called for those who heard to be redeemed. “But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭13:37-39‬ ‭KJV‬

After being rejected by the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their feet. They felt they had to go into the synagogue and minister to the Jews first, but hearing their “contradicting and blaspheming,” they determined to go unto the Gentiles, who gladly received. They continued in this region for maybe as long as 3 years.

Paul had seen the rejection of the Jews. He had seen the hunger of the Gentiles. He had seen the work of God on the Gentiles, as Peter had when the door was opened to them. So when Judaizers came to Antioch from Judea, Paul had a problem with their teaching the Gentiles to be circumcised in the Jewish tradition.

Paul had no problem with circumcision on its own. He had Timothy circumcised so that he would be above reproach in his ministry work with Paul (Acts 16:3). It was the fact that, having been set free through the Spirit, these teachers were binding the new believers to the old covenant traditions, teaching it as a necessity. Paul was the foremost witness of the work of God among the Gentiles, which was key in the decision to free Gentile believers from the burden of the old covenant (Acts 15:12).

Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 16-18:22) we start to see familiar names. After revisiting some of the churches, Paul picks up Luke in Troas. They go to places like Galacia and Phillipi in Chapter 16. It was in Phillipi they met Lydia, a seller of purple, and a Philippian jailer. Paul’s comfort level with his duel citizenship showed through when he would not allow the leaders to simply cast him away after treating him so horribly. Pride? It probably carried some gratification with it, having the magistrates come down and free him in person. But there is a lesson in that, as believers, there is no reason to hinder ourselves by allowing our rights to be trampled on.

Why Conservative? Some Refletions on the Free Market

I’m not an economist. My academic thoughts on the free market wouldn’t be worth very much. But I like competition. It usually turns out the best for me and anyone else who consumes goods and services and appreciates getting the best value for their hard-earned dollars..

The free market also bodes well for people who are dissatisfied with their current financial situation and hope for a better future. To put it in social work parlance, “Every individual, family, and community has strengths.” If an individual, family, or community wants to turn valuable strengths (skills, assets, resources) into something profitable, something that improves prospects and open up opportunities, then their should be very little standing in their way from the government. Remember,

To establish a government based on the consent of the governed, as the Declaration of Independence makes clear, they gave up only that portion of their rights necessary to create a limited government of the kind needed to secure all of their rights. Justice Clarence Thomas

When rural communities have a need for broadband access, why is it that the government is the go-to entity to provide it? Like electric, gas, and water, internet access is coming to be treated as a utility. That means the government and non-profit entities funded by government can get in on the action, have unfair advantages, and suffer little from competition that would otherwise prompt innovation and high-quality service.

Also, these utilities would be providing something that could be handled by free market solutions, in a much more effective manner than government dollars and all its various attached strings could provide.

Governor Haslam’s proposal to extend broadband access to rural communities as a utility, with $45 million investment by the state, would mean more favoritism and less freedom of choice than there is currently. In the words of a Chamber of Commerce employee I spoke to recently, “I’m for doing the most good for the most people,” while also agreeing with me that the free market is the best for solving problems. The two views don’t mesh in the real world, however. Advocating that the government “just do something,” as is so often the case, would limit options for private sector entities while giving favored status to public providers and nonprofit cooperatives.

Remember, what the government pays for, the government controls. Also, that which the government pays for, is paid for with our money. If we were spending our own money, we would make better choices in terms of quality and cost. In a study of municipal broadband internet providers, it was found that taxpayer money has been wasted to the tune of millions of dollars. Two hundred such utilities were discovered nationwide, 11 of which are in Tennessee.

In speaking with an elected state representative recently, he agreed initially that we need no more government involvement than necessary, before falling back on the tired excuse that “If private providers cherry-pick and don’t serve the kids in the country that don’t have internet to do their homework with,” then something has to be done. “Something” gets us in trouble much faster than “nothing” more times than not.

When hospitals start closing and individuals need health insurance in the wake of a massive federal initiative like Obamacare, it is shocking that the pleas would be for the state of Tennessee to accept more federal money for more healthcare for those in the “doughnut hole,” those who make too much to qualify for Obamacare subsidies, but too little to afford buying health insurance on their own.

Everything government touches gets too expensive for the average person or family to afford. So as we expect Obamacare and its Medicaid expansion plans to go the way of repeal, House Republicans roll out their “replacement” plan, leaving in it all the Obamacare regulations and subsides, while removing the mandate to buy and expanding eligibility to the doughnut hole, and beyond. All of this while adding to the amount they will give the states to expand Medicaid.

Instead of returning healthcare to patients, doctors, and the free market, the plan is to press ahead with a system that is even further doomed to failure. Businesses (including hospitals) close when the service they provide is unaffordable, and quality of service or care suffers when businesses (right, including hospitals) are not accountable to the people they serve.

When your compassion goes no further than mandating what your neighbor must pay to meet the needs of others, then your compassion is empty and meaningless. More on that to come.

Big Education has failed.

Big Education is not working. The term “education” has been successfully distorted beyond recognition. I’m not pretending that the high school graduation requirements are what they should be, but I’m certain that government cannot set the bar low enough to eliminate cheating. They are meaningless, and our society of relevance has eliminated any need to adhere to any acceptable standard. I’m certain that individual educators or administrators, applying their hard-learned “critical thinking” skills that are so valued in our liberal educational system today, decided that some students should not be held to a standard, or otherwise were incapable of attaining to it. Well, students learn more from actions than words. All the positive affirmations pasted across the walls of public school classrooms can’t make up for the message that achievement is meaningless.

Multiple stories (though not as many as one would think) have been written about how 1/3 of Tennessee high school graduates did not complete the required number or type of credits required to earn a diploma (here’s one). Twenty eight percent of Tennessee high schools had at least half of their graduates failing to meet the legal standard set for graduation. How is this instructive?

  • Education is no longer about mastery, or even completion. It is about passing through students for the sake of numbers. It is about not putting on the appearance of oppressing anyone who is not ready to move forward. Your children and mine are hindered in the process.
  • It is time to stop believing the lie that government can solve anything. Tennessee wasted millions on concocting an online standardized test that didn’t work. This was happening even as students were graduating without meeting the basic graduation requirements. Our own school system in Jackson-Madison Co. had to face the current superintendent about how students were passing through “credit recovery,” an online, self-paced, supposedly supervised process for those who have fallen behind, so quickly. It’s all a huge farce.
  • For those of you who have hope that education can be innovated in the public school system, don’t hold your breath. The only innovation that seems to be happening is about how can standards and requirements be manipulated to achieve the desired results. Again, in Jackson-Madison Co., school closures and consolidations have eliminated failing schools much faster than educational interventions or staffing changes ever could.

The workforce development woes that are daily used to justify more government spending and intervention will never be solved because those challenges are dwarfed by an integrity problem that exists within the very apparatus meant to solve them. I call it the “industrial-educational complex,” i.e. Big Education. Government started it, grew it, and seeks to reform it. Informed citizens are the only antidote. Public education cannot heal itself.

The Denial of Decency and Common Sense (Some thoughts on the Charleston Mass Murder)

UPDATE: A tweet that expresses my assertion in the 5th paragraph.

One evil person with a certain motivation does not excuse other evil people with the same or differing motivations.

Yes, the police should be able to do their job and the process for justice should play out. That is not a racist position or a position of denial concerning the murderer’s motivation.

People need to get out of the habit of defending people and condemning people as a knee-jerk reaction (but the problem with the other side is they’ll accuse you either way. there’s only one right answer- immediate condemnation.) I’m not talking about the murder, who plainly deserves condemnation. I’m talking about the talkers on both sides of the political spectrum defending or destroying others who have an opinion and dare to express it.

Identity politics drove Sweet Cakes by Melissa out of business.
Identity politics drove Sweet Cakes by Melissa out of business.

And yes, it is political. See the news about the President and former first lady who have been fundraising off of this tragedy. “Never let a crisis go to waste,” right?

Official diagnoses aside, anyone who thinks he is justified in shooting innocent people has the same derangement as the people who think all people who look like him are to blame for it. Identity. Politics. [The government indulges in identity politics, too](http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/02/b

akery-same-sex-oregon-fined-wedding-cake/22771685/). No better than this guy that shot and murdered people because they were black Christians.

Comparing apples to oranges- This crime was clearly and act of racist murder. It was motivated by hate. I don’t know if it was terrorism or not (no known affiliation with an organization or evidence of acting directly or otherwise on behalf of an organization. Some people just want to kill.) The Mayor and police chief had little reason not to call this a horrible murder apparently motivated by hate, possibly motivated by ideology toward terrorism. It is not the same as the police-involved shootings (one that was blatantly a murder as revealed by cell phone video). We place a level of trust in our public servants that is warranted and crucial for civil peacekeeping and public safety. Officers warrant the benefit of this trust unless and until they break it, at which point they have no business serving the public. To not speculate on officer involved shootings is the right call (again, except in the case of one recent shooting which was clearly cold-blooded murder, and even that case was subject to due process.)

As to why prayer has been the response as opposed to rioting and unrest- the open-and-shut nature of the crime has something to do with why there has been no rioting. It has not stopped the politicization of the SC statehouse flying the Confederate battle flag, blaming of and calling for denunciation of the murders by all white people, or cries for more gun laws, n spite of the fact that the murderer broke existing gun laws in order to commit these murders.

But the only thing that can explain prayer is that, perhaps since this is a church that was shattered by these murders, the suvivors (I hate the word “victims”) know where to put their faith. I’ve seen criticism on Twitter that, because these are black people, they are told that they have to forgive the murderer. I think these people have the opportunity to forgive and they are taking it. I hope and believe that this tragedy will be the one that brings healing from the wounds inflicted by the past several incidents of racial violence and rioting.

If we’re all going to be held responsible for denouncing white racist mass murderers, let’s start with eugenics proponent Margaret Sanger. She’s responsible for ideology that has led to the death of millions. No gun required. Loved by our President and many others from his party and ideological respective:

image via bookwormroom.com
image via bookwormroom.com

[Book Excerpt] An Update On What I’ve Been Doing, Since I Haven’t Been Posting at the Blog Lately

Hey, I know I haven’t posted in a while. I’m sorry. I haven’t been lazy. I’ve just been writing other things.

You may have read this post earlier in the month. I know my brother did. He asked me if I was writing my book yet. I said that I was. He found out by reading the blog. I didn’t even know he read my blog…

I have been working on the book. I’ve also had a lot of other things on my mind. Pondering the will of God while trying to get closer to Him.

I’ve realized that writing a book in particular, and sharing a message in general, is an obstacle for me. It’s an obstacle in that, as long as I put it off, I can’t really move forward to do anything else. I see other things on the horizon, but I’m stuck where I am as long as this work goes undone. So I have to get to work. And I have been at work.

Having someone ask me about the book provided a sense of accountability. I don’t know what it meant to him, to find out that I have been working on it, or what it would have meant if I had not been working on it. I’m glad I was able to give an affirmative answer.

There are many of you that I know read this blog, but a good percentage you I probably know personally but have no idea that you’re checking out my material. I want to invite you to let me know that you’re reading, either by commenting or posting on social media.

And to give you something to post about, here is an excerpt from my very, very rough draft. I’m calling the book “Provoked: A Call To Extraordinary Good Works.” The excerpt is from a chapter on personal credibility:

Credibility is living in alignment with your values. It is “practicing what you preach.” It is doing more than paying lip service, it is backing up your claims with action.

There is “microcredibility,” where you make a promise and you either fulfill it or renege on it. Your choice increases or decreases your credibility. Then there is “macrocredibility.” Do people see your beliefs and actions aligning in everyday life? Or do others doubt that your values are really all that important to you?

The doubt that others have when your words and your actions don’t align is called dissonance. It isn’t that you’re trying to deceive people. Your not trying to be someone you aren’t. But something just doesn’t add up, and it is noticeable. You can feel the dissonance too, when you come to a place where you recognize the credibility gap between your beliefs and behaviors.

I’ve taught young people for years that “belief behaves.” Others will judge your beliefs by what they see you do, for better or for worse.

If you commit enough of the microcredibility trespasses, people will believe you aren’t as good as your word. They will believe that honesty and fulfilling obligations isn’t that important to you. Sure, we all make mistakes. We forget, get busy, have emergencies arise that prevent us from fulfilling obligations. At those times, credibility is more valuable than gold. Forgiveness comes easy and relationships stay intact when you are credible. But a pattern of not living up to the obligations you set leads to loss of credibility and broken relationships.

Every obligation you make is a standard of performance you set for yourself.

Yes, a standard you set for yourself. No one sets it for you. You choose. So choose wisely.

Let me know what you think! Do you recognize a credibility crisis in the world today? How does it play out? How is lack of credibility an obstacle to doing extraordinary good works?