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Don’t Disgrace Your Name
Joe Graser was serving with Patton’s 3rd

Don’t Disgrace Your Name

Joe Graser was serving with Patton’s 3rd

Army in Europe when he learned that his younger brother, Don, back in Ohio, had been inducted into the Army. He wrote a heartfelt letter to his brother giving him advice on being a soldier and a man:

As Mom always said you are judged by the company you keep, so don’t be to [sic] hasty at first with whom you run around with, wait a while then pick out a buddy or so… you will see it’s very easy to give your religion up, while in the service, since no one is there to remind you about it, but always live the way you were brought up, over two years ago when I came in Mom told me, to be careful & never to disgrace my name, that is something that has always been on my mind, in whatever I do & surely has been a guidance to me.

My first thought on reading this letter was that telling a loved one not to “disgrace his name” sounds like advice from a bygone era. Today it almost seems a quaint notion. What would a young person now consider disgraceful? For many in today’s culture, probably little short of being caught committing a felony. Yet, the biblical imperative stands, to “ Honor your father and mother.” We do this by giving them respect and by doing nothing to bring them embarrassment or shame. I think it reasonable to expand the scope of this injunction to the family as well, so that our actions honor them and bring credit to them in the larger community.

It is also important to remember that our Lord Jesus taught us an even more expansive view of how we should live in relation to these commands. We are called to fulfill these obligations out of love rather than obedience. When his love fills our hearts, we are able to lovingly bring honor to him, to our parents, and to our families. In love, we will never disgrace his name or our own.

I will put my laws in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

—Jeremiah 31:33

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