There are days when I really care about what people think of me. And there are days when I don’t. There are days when I want people to think highly of me and it’s important to me that they do. Then there are days when I get the itch to do what I want to do regardless of what people think.
Reputation. It’s the estimation in which a person or thing is generally held. In other words, your reputation is someone’s opinion of you. It’s how they reflect upon you.
When I was in middle school, I’m sure my reputation among my teachers was that of a trouble maker. I didn’t mind having that reputation because truthfully it was correct…and fun! 😉
In high school, I was labeled by my coaches as the one with the bad attitude. I always hated that one.
In my young adult years, I’m sure my reputation ran the gamut from partier to nice Christian girl. In my 30’s, I’ve been known as intimidating and unapproachable. Ouch, that one hurts.
Reputations. Are they worth anything? Should we be affected by them? Should we care?
See if you can identify with any of these reputations:
- Don’t count on her to be on time to anything. She’s always late for everything.
- She’s a nice person but don’t tell her anything personal because she’ll tell the whole world.
- He’s the most egotistical person I know.
- I like her, but I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her.
- He complains about everything. Nothing is ever good enough for him.
- She is so sweet and genuine. With her, what you see is really what you get.
The odds are you’ve either said something very similar about someone you know, or they’ve said something similar about you. It’s their reputation. It’s your reputation.
I can’t say that I like reputations really. I find them to be basically unfair. We act so differently around certain people and given situations, that what others see (and judge) may not even be the “real us.” Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Yeah, see…how is that even fair?
King Solomon, perhaps one of the wisest men to have ever lived, poured his wisdom into his children and the people of his kingdom. These wise sayings are collected in the book of Proverbs. Hear these words: “Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you; take to heart my commands. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well. Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people” (Proverbs 3:1-4, MSG).
Solomon is telling his listeners about the importance of a good reputation. Part of how we earn a reputation for living well is by walking in obedience to what God teaches. Part of earning a reputation for living well is keeping a tight grip on things like love and loyalty, kindness and truth, mercy and faithfulness.
People come and go and so do their attitudes about us. We certainly can’t control what others think of us. But we can put some effort into putting into practice and etching our heart with key behaviors like love, loyalty, kindness, truth, mercy, and faithfulness.
If we are God’s masterpiece, if we are precious in His sight, if we are holy and dearly loved by Him, why wouldn’t we want to live up to this reputation?
What’s your reputation? Are you okay with the one you have, or do you need to make some changes?