above (or beyond) reproach
Such that no criticism can be made; perfect: his integrity is beyond reproach
*from Oxford Dictionary
In the circles I travel in, this phrase “Above Reproach” is often referred to when discussing propriety in pastoral care. It references the fine line between getting yourself into a situation where others may question, or perhaps even accuse you of unethical or immoral behaviour.
But I am finding I want to concern myself less with what I should be avoiding in favour of what I should be pursuing. If I am always concerned about being above reproach in my relationships and my thought-life, then I am focusing on what could potentially go wrong or what appearance I might have, and it might paralyze me from taking action.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for being appropriate and above board – but rather than worrying if I’m escaping the fires of hell licking my heels, I’d rather be reaching forward to the pursuit of being the best person I can be with the talents and skills God has given me.
How much more fulfilling is it to fill my thoughts with the what if’s of success than the what if’s of failure. One perspective has me continually looking over my shoulder for my accusers, whilst the other has me pressing forward looking for fellow pursuers of excellence.
What if we changed Above Reproach from being a negative to a positive. What if being above reproach was an exciting dynamic of “Look over here, world – God’s doing something amazing. You’ll want to see this!” rather than “Don’t look my way in case I’ve crossed a boundary I shouldn’t have crossed.
Keeping your eye on the pursuit of excellence is a pursuit worthy of my time.