1 ¶ A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Its also one of the hardest things to get back once you’ve lost it. The opinion that others have about our character is of the utmost importance to a Christian. Let the world’s hatred of us be for the right reasons. Peter, in his first Tribulation letter, called a General Epistle, speaking to Jewish believers in Christ scattered throughout Asia.
1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
God here is saying that a good reputation is more important than wealth. Certainly, the world doesn’t see things that way. To the world, you’ve got money, who cares how you got it or what other people think of you? Having a lot of money tends to take the edge off of people’s negative opinions anyway.
A man or woman who is known for honesty in all their dealings, not being greedy, being faithful to their spouse, moderate in their appetites, meticulous about acquiring debt and paying it back, kind in their speech, and inoffensive in their behavior, who respects other people’s persons, time, and property will have a reputation as being someone who is trustworthy and a good citizen to most. To the lower sorts of human life he’ll just be considered a first rate sap, but we don’t expect much out of people who have that attitude.
In every walk of life there is a distinction between what constitutes a good character and a good name and what doesn’t. I can remember when people bragged about never in their lives having written a bad check. I know criminals who used to brag about never having snitched anyone out even to get a better deal from the law themselves. I know one person who spent a considerable amount of time in prison simply because they would not “rat”.
Another side of having a good reputation is that it not only allows people to look at you in a good light but it helps you. If you do right you’ll have a good credit rating, low debt to income ratio, and you won’t have a criminal record. You’ll avoid bankruptcy. Of course, we often don’t have a good reputation because we did things we wanted to do without regard to whether or not it was something that glorified God.
Herein lies one of my great weaknesses. In frustration, anger, or disappointment I’m liable to shoot off my mouth, not thinking first whether or not what I am saying glorifies God. Your speech is an important part of your reputation and character, two things which are inextricably linked.
1Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
What you are known for and what your reputation is among others both within the church and without, is important. Notice this qualification for a Bishop of a church, a Pastor.
1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Remember, that it is pointed out that there is no law (nor can there be) against the fruit of the Spirit named in Galatians 5:22, 23.
So, when people revile you and despise you, let it be because you are a Christian and that you proclaim Christ and glorify Him in all you do. Don’t let it be because you are untrustworthy, lazy, and dishonest; bigoted, meanspirited, paranoid, and filled with hate and fear.
And finally, it is more important to God that you have a good reputation, a good name, than wealth or fame. It should be more important to you, as well.