Friday, March 15, 2024

Character Vs. Reputation


    (Sunrise in the park, across the street from our house.)

I have seen websites advertising ways to clean up your reputation. You may have an online reputation that is less than marketable. These websites promise to sanctify "you" by removing your sins (real or rumored) and producing a shiny, sparkling, attractive "you." This is called "reputation
 management." I kid you not.

Your sordid reputation can be manipulated, for a cost. But what about your character?

Money cannot help you here. Your reputation, which money can airbrush, is not your character. Your character is about the real "you." Money cannot change that unless, perhaps, you begin sacrificially, and from a heart of compassion, giving it away to the poor. 

The real "you" includes who you are when offline. This is what God cares about. God develops character, not reputation.  

Everyone has a reputation. Jesus did. Isn't he just the "carpenter's son?" "He's from Nazareth, right?" 

Reputation may align with character. You may have a reputation of being a kind person. If you are kind, in character, which means kind at home, kind on the road, kind in the workplace, kind to your spouse, kind when alone, then your reputation of being kind aligns with who you truly are.

Several years ago I was one of the presenters at an ecumenical prayer gathering. As I entered the auditorium a Roman Catholic leader approached me. He said he was surprised to see me here, because he had heard that I hate Roman Catholics. I told him that was untrue. I shared how one of our city's priests, with whom I was friends, had invited me to speak at the annual Unity Service. I have no idea where he got that from. Such is the nature of "reputation."

Forget about what people repute you to be. Focus on connecting to Jesus, who is forming himself in you. Grow and mature into Christ. Let God take care of whatever follows.