One of the most memorable lines, perhaps even the most accurate lines of any Shakespearean play comes from Marc Antony’s soliloquy (which I had to memorize in high school, so perhaps that’s why it’s so memorable to me) in Julius Caesar: “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar.”
Obviously Mr. Antony (not the Latino pop start married to Jennifer Lopez) referred to the fact that Caesar would be remembered for his ambition and the negative stuff like turning the Republic into more of an Empire. I guess that sentiment and foul memory is probably to be expected when one is assassinated by friends.
But I wonder what the legacies will be of some of our recently departed celebrities, athletes, and pitchmen. Will McNair be remembered for giving to his community and humbly sweeping the floor of his own restaurant or for having an affair with a woman 16 years his junior who was as stable as plutonium? Will Michael Jackson be remembered for his music first or for the alleged molestation charges or literally having a new face every few years?
I think it would be quite exhausting to worry about your legacy by scrutinizing every decision you will make or have made. I think a legacy I would rather have made is not one of impeccability, but rather a legacy of repentance. That I screwed up a lot, but repented, ran to, and rested in Jesus a lot.
Maybe, just maybe, that’s why we remember Luther more for his 95 Theses (the first of which stated “all of life is repentance”) and less for his anti-semitism or other dirt he left behind.