Have you ever had to write letters of recommendation for someone?
They are often needed for academic purposes like scholarships or entering levels of higher education. They are often needed for seeking employment.
Sometimes, writing such letters is easy. A person is well known by the letter writer so glowing and truthful remarks seem to flow onto the page.
Sometimes, writing such letters can be a chore. Perhaps the person who has requested such a letter is not well known. Perhaps the person being referred hasn’t had much life experience. Or perhaps the person being written about is simply a scoundrel and kind words are hard to find.
A joke that has been around for some time shows how one might be colorful with handling negative information.
The Smiths were proud of their family tree; their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower, and descendants included senators and Wall Street wizards.
They decided to compile a family history — a legacy for their children and grandchildren — and hired a well-known author. Only one problem arose: how to handle the fact that great-uncle George was executed in the electric chair. But the author said he could handle the story tactfully.
He wrote this about great-uncle George: “Great-uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, and his death came as a great shock.”
When it comes to being a disciple of Jesus Christ, what kind of a recommendation would someone write for you?
Would a recommendation flow onto the page with truthful and glowing remarks? Or would someone have to spin a letter, making you sound better than you are?
Live with your integrity intact and no one will ever be able to truthfully say an unkind word about you, nor struggle to find good things to say about you.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.