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Most of Us Have the Reputation We Deserve

I once had a conversation with a very successful man, who had a horrible reputation in the business community. He also claimed to be a Christian.

He went to his pastor to ask why he was never nominated to be a deacon. After all, he was good with money. His pastor had the courage to tell him that the reason he hadn’t been nominated was his reputation. He was incredulous!

So, he came to see me, indignant that he was being slandered by people in his church. “Do you think I have a reputation as a tough businessman?,” he asked. And I told him the truth.

“I don’t deserve that reputation,” he said. To which I said, “most of us have the reputation we deserve.”

“A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.” Ecclesiastes 7:1 To be fair, it happens that false rumors will often emerge about a Christian who’s having an affair, has a drinking problem or is prideful. Why is it we’d believe them?

Those rumors generally take root only if there is some behavior people have observed that make them believable. Perhaps that person is flirtatious, or does drink too much occasionally, or makes a point of letting people know how smart, rich or tough, he or she is. That kind of behavior is the soil of rumors.

“Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1

The best way to make sure those rumors die a quick death is to live the kind of life that when people hear that a rumor about you, they instantly respond, “I don’t believe that. I’ve never seen them act that way. I’d be careful about passing on that information, unless you know it to be a fact.” That kind of remark will often chill a hot rumor.

“Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.” Proverbs 26:20

Here’s how I define gossip, “Gossip is truth, inappropriately passed on.” A piece of gossip may be 100% true, but there is simply no reason to pass it on.

So, are there “little things” you do that your wife has talked to you about? Is your language course, your jokes off color, or do you give a beautiful woman a second and third glance? If so, the soil is being prepared for a rumor about you!

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet

How following Jesus works in real life.

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