Reputations are like credit. Once ruined, restoring them is complicated.
Greg was a distant cousin and rebel who was somewhat of an idol for seventies teenagers with rebellious tendencies. He was into the “hippie scene” complete with long hair, boots, beads, and a Chevy van sporting wide tires, mag wheels and a custom interior. Greg was also into some of the negative facets of the movement: disregard for authority, drugs, alcohol and bumming around. He was popular, but not for honorable reasons. Greg was a rebel with a reputation to match. Unfortunately, his lifestyle eventually led to premature death.
Reputations have a way of influencing others, and Greg’s did me. I couldn’t wait to legally do some of the things he did, have some of the things he had and be as popular as he was. I followed his footsteps to a degree and got what he had: a reputation.
A wise man once said; A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
Reputations are somewhat like character which is built by integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing when everyone is watching or no one is looking. Integrity forms character which is who we genuinely are. When guarded and preserved, good reputations serve us well in the community, our places of employment and in relationships. When trashed, they do the opposite.
I eventually rebuilt my reputation. It was difficult and took time. Guarding it initially would have simplified the process. Love, joy, patience, honesty, kindness, faithfulness, self control, punctuality, dependability are traits of good reputations. Only careful choices shape reputations characterized by these qualities, but doing so allows our Jesus lights to shine. And this focuses others in the right direction.
Have you tarnished your reputation with bad choices? It’s never too late to let God help you rebuild character.
Prayer: Father, guide us to make choices that erect rather than demolish our reputations.
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