And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask . . . you are a woman of noble character. (Ruth 3:11)

The name Mother Teresa usually inspires thoughts of kindness, goodness, and self-sacrifice. This Christian woman is generally remembered worldwide as a humble saint who spent her life helping the poorest of the poor in India. Some might be surprised to discover, however, that Mother Teresa’s reputation has occasionally fallen under attack. Even shortly after her death critics questioned her character and even tried to prevent her canonization—accusing her of providing inadequate healthcare, mismanaging funds, and being too outspoken in her views on abortion, birth control, and divorce.

However, Mother Teresa’s supporters have countered that she never intended to run a hospital but rather provide a place where the world’s discarded and forgotten could find love and acceptance, and where the terminally ill could face eternity with dignity. She viewed herself not as a philanthropist but as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. She was fully devoted to her Roman Catholic faith, which places a high value on the sanctity of life and the human family.

My mother (Karen Cobb) observes, “It’s much easier to criticize than to defend.” Yet followers of Christ have a responsibility to defend the weak when we have the power to do so. Boaz was careful to protect Ruth’s dignity. Jesus also sacrificed his reputation—and ultimately his life—to love society’s outcasts. In the end, God’s opinion is all that truly matters.

Help the weak, without regard for your own reputation.

Laura Hurd is an ordained minister, pastor’s wife, and mother of four. She has a deep love for rural America and is passionate about its potential for spiritual growth.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.