I was thinking about reputations the other day. I wonder what people think or say about me. I hope this doesn’t sound too self-centered but I do wonder what people think about me and I guess that I am honest enough to admit it. I want to have a good reputation because when you really strip everything away, all the glitz, the glamour, the power, and money your reputation is all that is left. God has a good reputation and I want to be like Him and maybe that is part of my motivation. I want my reputation to be authentic and real and honest. I don’t want to deceive myself into thinking I am a good Christian, I want to be a good Christian! The Apostle Paul was really quick to sum up people’s reputation and I hope that people think of me as Paul thought of Philemon.
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Philemon 1:4-7, (English Standard Version or ESV).
There are several people who I think of with such feelings and words as Paul thought of Philemon. Like Philemon they are people of faith and they are authentic and are always an encouragement to be around. I know that some of them are praying for me just as I pray for them. Some of them will actually ask me to pray for others that they are praying for and I am always honored to do so. The people who come to my mind who I think of as Paul did Philemon are much more active in sharing their faith than I am. They have jobs that help them come into contact with people all the time where I am a stay-at-home Mom who sees few people each day. I pray for them that they can have openings to share their faith with others. I always love to hear their stories when we finally connect and have time to catch up with each other’s lives. Philemon had a good reputation and Paul knew it. I hope the people who know me feel that I am a person of faith and integrity as well. Let’s look at some other reputations in the Bible.
After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. Esther 3:1-6, (ESV).
Here is a plot that is thickening and two players are at odds, Haman verses Mordecai the Jew. Which one has a good reputation and which one has a bad reputation? It depends on who you talk to and which side you are on. Haman was well thought of by King Ahasuerus and the entire court of the King. He had a good reputation but he hated Mordecai who would not give him the honor Haman felt was due. Mordecai was well thought of among the Jews and it wasn’t long until the King heard of the good that Mordecai had done for him and had Haman give honor to Mordecai.
Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.” Esther 6:10-11, (ESV).
You can read the book of Esther and see how this all works out but I will give you a spoiler alert…the one with the good reputation wasn’t Haman. I don’t want to be a people pleasure like Haman who kisses up to people to gain favor. I don’t want to be a person that looks good on the outside but is rotten to the core on the inside. Mordecai was a good man and I am so glad that the ending of this story is that Mordecai’s reputation was restored and the Jewish nation was saved from extermination. Queen Esther intervened on behalf of her people and that was a good thing for the Jews.
Reputations are important. Some people have good reputations and some people have bad reputations. I don’t think that we should judge people but we are to be discerning and we should strive to have a good reputation, a reputation for doing good. So here is my short list of what I view as a good reputation.
1). A person who doesn’t lie or cheat, steal, or covet is a person of integrity and of good reputation.
2). A person who loves the Lord and is always rejoicing even during times of difficulties is a person of good reputation.
3). Someone who is generous to everyone regardless of who they are but especially generous to other Christians is a person of good reputation.
4). If God thinks what I am doing is righteous then I will continue to do it and His opinion is all that really matters.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1, (ESV).
You know that is it! If everything that I do is run past God through prayer and studying His Word and He approves then I guess it doesn’t really matter what others think of me. What does matter, though, is that they see Jesus in me and that they see me doing things that encourage and lift up Jesus to the world and to the church. This is what is so much more important than my own reputation because I am an ambassador for the King of Kings! Let us never get tired of doing good because we do it for Jesus! So glad I finally figured it out!