Recently, a Facebook friend copied and pasted, a rather lengthy post of mine. He did so because there was no share button available for that particular post. He graciously credited the post to me, but when he did so, he said something I found to be quite interesting. He wrote, “I do not endorse everything about the source (David Hyles) but I appreciate his words...”
Let me begin by saying, that I am in no way upset at this good man. I merely found this statement to be interesting. However, it did give me pause. Most of us are afraid to attach ourselves too closely to someone who has a bad reputation. We fear the backlash that we might receive from others who have a less than favorable opinion of that person. I certainly understand why someone would want to distance themselves from me. I do not write this to criticize this man, nor should anyone else. I have teasingly said, “I would not be a member of any church that would have me as a member.” I realize the slander that is out there, regarding me. However, there is reason why I bring this up. There are lessons to be learned and shared.
I am thankful for those who do endorse me. I am thankful for those who unhesitatingly stand beside me as a friend, regardless of the backlash. The word “endorse” means, “to declare one's public approval or support of.” Not one of us is perfect. I suppose, there could be a disclaimer placed on every one of us. However, when someone has fallen, the endorsement of other Christians sometimes is all they have, to give them an opportunity. Had there been no Barnabus endorsing the new christian Paul, what chance would he have had, considering his violent past against Christians. An endorsement is not approval of someone's sins, but of their effort to move forward, after repenting of the sins. Now let me share some thoughts about endorsing a brother or sister, who has fallen.
1. It comes with a risk. They may disappoint again. And endorsement is not a guarantee. It is merely saying, I approve of the effort they are making. To endorse an alcoholic who is trying to quit drinking, is not to say he will not drink again. It is merely acknowledging publicly, that we approve and support, that one who is making the effort.
2. An endorsement is a willingness to identify with imperfection. Perhaps, you are not willing to identify with my imperfections, but I know my Savior is. Jesus identified Himself with sinners. He even approved and supported Peter, BEFORE Peter denied Him three times.
3. An endorsement is an encouragement, not to give up. I will admit to you that there are times when I feel like giving up. I feel like it's not worth trying to do anything for God, because of the beatings I take from my enemies. When someone who loves my Lord endorses me, it encourages me not to listen to the voices of those who are trying to destroy me.
4. An endorsement is an opportunity to share the truth. A friend called me recently and shared something very special. A preacher with whom I had had some fellowship thirty-five years ago had come to his church. My friend told him of my life and ministry. The man was shocked. Quite frankly, he thought I was dead. He had heard nothing good about me for decades. My friend shared with him the story of my ministry of restoration. It encouraged him. He was thrilled to know that I was doing what I could to serve the Lord. I am thankful for a friend who shared the truth, of who I am today, with someone who did not know.
5. An endorsement allows someone to help others. For all the friends who may criticize you for being an endorser, there will be someone out there who will need someone like me. If you are willing to ignore those who criticize, you may be able to use my story and my experience to help that one. The people to whom I minister, are typically people brought to me by my endorsers.
6. To endorse a sinner, is as Christlike as it gets. While Satan accuses me, Christ intercedes for me. He is my endorser to the Father.
7. An endorsement is not an excuse or a denial, nor is it an explanation. An endorsement is a testimony. Don't we want more testimonies, of the grace of God, not less of them? Why would we put a disclaimer upon God's grace, by putting a disclaimer on one who has accepted that grace? We need more stories of restoration, not fewer of them.
8. An endorsement of me is an endorsement of the grace of God. It really is not about me, and it is not about you. It is about the forgiving power of God, made possible by the finished work of my Saviour, and His intercession for me at the Father’s right hand. You are not really endorsing the sinner; you are endorsing the Saviour. So, to all of you who are willing to endorse me, including my Savior, I want to express my gratitude and tell you that I love you and appreciate your love for me and for my Lord. I hope that I can use your endorsement to be a blessing and help to others, who likewise have fallen.
My name is David Hyles and I endorse this message.