“He Leads me in Paths of Righteousness, for His Name’s Sake.” Psalm 23:3RSV
I’ve been asking myself what it means to be led in righteous paths, for the sake of God’s name? I usually think in terms of the way God guides us in our wanderings. God meets us at a point of decision, which redirects our life. When we were in danger of straying, we were somehow pulled back from the brink. We were guided onto a right path during that crucial moment in our lives.
Lately, I’ve been looking at the verse in another way. The NJB interpretation, “He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits his name,” got me thinking of how my actions reflect on God’s name. Especially after seeing a number of Christians behaving badly, I’m painfully aware what others are saying of my faith. When people of faith behave badly, in ways that are neither just or compassionate, we push people away from our faith.
There is a story about a Highway patrolman who pulled a driver over, asking for her license and registration.
“What’s wrong, officer?” the driver asked. “I didn’t go through any red lights, and I certainly wasn’t speeding.”
“No, you weren’t,” the officer responded, “but I saw you waving your fist as you swerved around the person driving in the left lane, and I further observed your flushed and angry face as you shouted at the driver of the Hummer who cut you off, and how you pounded your steering wheel when the traffic came to a stop near the bridge.”
“Is that a crime, officer?” she questioned.
“No,” he said, but when I saw the ‘Jesus loves you and so do I’ bumper sticker on the car, I figured this car had to be stolen.”
Our actions reflect on the faith we claim. Gods leads us in paths of saving justice, to be instruments of compassion, mercy, kindness and love. May our actions, words and attitudes reflect well on God who loves us, and shepherds us through life.