Another general character trait that effects our reputation surrounds the things that interest us in the world. Paul tells Titus he should “love the things that are good.” The Greek word is philagathos. The first part of that word is “Philos” which means to love in a non-romantic way and is often associated with friendship. We know it with its connection to another Greek word “Adelphos” which means brother. Thus, Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love as its name is made up from those two words. Look for people, Paul tells Titus, who love the good things in life. When Paul tells the Philippians to focus on whatever is true… honorable… just… pure… lovely…commendable in Philippians chapter 4, he’s directing us to “love what is good.”

I remember a single man in his early 20’s who decorated his bedroom in a house he shared with two other men with pornographic images cut out of Playboy magazine. It was clearly obvious what he was interested in. Our lives are decorated by what we are interested in similarly. It’s seen in how we spend our leisure time, how we spend our money, what kind of books we like and movies we enjoy, what kind of company we keep, who we admire, and what we laugh at. We often think that people can’t see our predilections in life, but in truth, they are hanging from the walls of our lives, like framed pictures, for all to see.

As Kathy and I were thinking of this a couple years ago we were reading Henry Nouwen’s “The Prodigal Son.” It is an excellent exposition of the story of the prodigal son and how each of us have gone astray in so many ways. The father loves us. He’s passionate to have us come home to where he can show us his love and care for us and protect us. Yet, we all run from him to go our own ways in life and just as sure as the biblical story we often end up living with the pigs. I could relate so profoundly to that truth that it was what I wanted hanging on the walls of my life. I found a print of Rembrandt’s rendition of the return of the prodigal son and it adorns the wall in my dining room. I want everyone who sits down at our dinner table to see it. See that ragged, shoeless, head shaved man clinging to his father for forgiveness and compassion? That’s me!

“Whatsoever things are pure, lovely, commendable…think on these things.” Philippians 4:8