Reputation is a big thing to all of us. It's important to know the reason why it matters – and the reason why it also shouldn't matter to us.
The Bible says that our reputation is far more important than gold or silver. Yet despite that, the Bible also says that we must not value our reputation too much so that it won't hinder us from honouring God.
Why Reputation Matters
The Bible has several verses talking about the importance of having a good name or reputation.
Proverbs 22:1, for instance, says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favour rather than silver and gold."
This simply means that we must not trade our names or character for any riches that the world could give.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, on the other hand, tells us: "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others."
This time, we are instructed to live honourable lives worthy of respect, which means a good reputation.
1 Timothy 3:7 speaks of a weighty matter: "Moreover [an elder] must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
This time, the reputation became a "testimony" to others.
Reputation = Testimony
It is with the intention of protecting our testimony that we should be concerned about our reputation. Many of us want to have a good reputation so that we'd be famous or deserving of people's favour. However, what we've been told is that we won't chase after that. Rather, we must take care of our testimony as God's children.
Revelation 12:11 tells us just how important our testimony is: "And they overcame [the accuser of the brethren] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."
Our testimony of how and what Christ saved us from is part of our arsenal against the devil's accusations!
Why It Shouldn't Matter
Now with the talk of the importance of a good reputation, it would be hard to understand why it shouldn't matter now. Yes, reputation and a good name is important, but if what we are after is just to have a good name before all men, we might end up becoming people-pleasers who want a perfect reputation, but with no impact for the Kingdom of God.
Friends, we must be careful not to love the people's praises and adoration. James 4:4 reminds us, "You adulterers! Don't you realise that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God."
Rather, we must be like Christ, who did not consider His reputation important as compared to the will of God. Philippians 2:5-6 tells us that "Though [Jesus] was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being."
Christ took care of His testimony and didn't sin before God, yet He did not consider it more important than the will of God. He was labeled the "Friend of sinners," yet He didn't mind. He simply was focused on doing what God wanted Him to do.