January 28 – Reputation and Character

“Reputation is what others think about you; character is what God knows about you.” (Adrian Rogers)

In my day to day life I come into contact with dozens, even hundreds of people. About each of them I have opinions about who they are, what they stand for, and what they do. In short, they have a reputation with me. My evaluation of a person’s reputation is influenced by what I see them doing, and how I see them acting. If I primarily see someone in a work environment, then I can only see their “work persona”.

I know for myself that the environment at influences how I act, and what people see of me. People who only see me at work see only a part of me. My friends see a slightly different picture of me. Even my closest family members see only part of what I do, and how I act. God sees all. While I may be able to hide certain thoughts and feelings from friends, family and co-workers, God sees directly into my heart and knows me exactly as I am.

As I am sitting here on a frigid winter morning, I am reflecting on where there might be differences between my reputation and my character. I do my best to be fairly transparent in my life. How I think and feel, and what actions I take are generally in harmony with each other. I like to think that my character and reputation are but copies of each other.

I am a big believer that a person cannot hide their true character for very long. If a person’s character is completely, or even partially, out of line with their reputation, it will show itself eventually. To maintain the illusion takes too much effort, more energy than it is worth. All too often I see people in the public eye whose character leaks out of the carefully maintained reputation.

Today I will take some time, in my quiet moments, to think about where my reputation might not be in perfect line with my character. I will think about what might happen in a conversation between people I know, and God. Would God be pulling out a few “a ha” revelations about me? Or would God agree with what those around me see?

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