You only get one reputation so you better guard it well. The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the enduring value of a good name.
- Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, “A good name is better than fine perfume….”
- Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.”
A good reputation is necessary to have success in life, even in ministry. A good name is priceless. A good name is earned in life by living godly and showing good character in all situations, especially those that are difficult.
A bad reputation is hard to live down and difficult to repair. It attaches. Your reputation can be a product of what you do, or what your friends do. So live wisely, and choose to live with friends that pull you forward, upward, not downward. The Bible warns, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” (I Corinthians 15:33). Don’t compromise your name and reputation for anyone, even a friend.
It is much easier to destroy a good reputation than to build it. Building a good reputation requires effort, patience, and takes time. Destroying a good reputation only requires a single moment’s misstep.
Some people think that their reputation doesn’t really matter that much; that we should only focus on doing our best and that’s enough. Or that the forgiveness of God cancels everything and makes everyone equal. Not true. This is not a matter of forgiveness. It’s a matter of reputation, and on that basis all are not equal. To ignore the practical importance of a good reputation is to ignore the consequences of a bad reputation. God’s forgiveness is never in question. Our reputation is.
For instance, when considering a potential spouse do you want someone who is known for their faithfulness and virtue or someone who is known to be lewd and licentious? See the difference?
While it is true that God looks on the heart while man looks on the outward appearance, the fact remains that a person’s reputation attaches itself to the individual and others are left to judge a book by its cover. This is why a good reputation is so essential; a bad one can hurt for years to come.
The fact is many people ruin their chances for success in life because of a bad reputation. Open doors slam shut, job opportunities are missed, and bad job references are given. They are never invited to a seat at the table. They become marginalized.
Guard your reputation and guard it well. A good name is better than great riches.