Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other related topics.
Why Christians should have a good name and be careful about things they say and do that may impact someone’s reputation.
Reputations are not as valued these days as they were in the past. A scan of social media shows that people are quick to judge and put down other people. Comments can lead to people being flamed, estranged from others, or even fired from their jobs.
As a Christian writer, I am dismayed by the negative reputation the church and its people have in the world. We are accused of being hypocritical, judgmental, and pushy. Some of our leaders have had moral failings and lined their own pockets with church funds. Some took advantage of their positions to abuse their congregants in abhorrent ways.
Every day I see or hear the stories of former church members who were mistreated by Christians. I have experienced being gossiped about, condemned, used, and rejected. The church will often dismiss people who speak about their hurts as being flawed or oversensitive instead of dealing with core issues. Some churches protect their reputations by covering up their sins and discrediting people they have hurt instead of changing what they do.
If Christianity is to survive, its members must be willing to return to fundamental Christian values and teachings. When we Christians practice what we preach, we can change the world’s perception of us and rebuild our reputation.
Qualities needed to Build a Good Reputation
A good name is not something we pursue to look good in the eyes of the world or to bring us honor. It is a natural consequence of living the Christian life by guarding our hearts against sin and loving other people (Proverbs 25:27).
The Bible says that a good name is:
- more valuable than costly perfume
- more desirable than great wealth (Proverbs 22:1)
- better than a good ointment (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
- is to be chosen rather than great riches (Proverbs 22:1)
So how do we build a good reputation in the world?
First of all, if we are faking good qualities such as generosity, purity, humility, and righteousness to look good in the eyes of the world, we need to change our perspective. Giving in a Christian way should be done because we want to do good and not to get the praise of the world. We should do many of these things without the expectation of a reward.
Honesty also means being fair and just when dealing with other people. We can admit our mistakes and offer to correct them. People can rely on us to be truthful about our abilities and do a good job.
Can people trust you to keep your promises and their secrets? Can they rely on us to come through when they need our help? People long for us to be trustworthy. We have all heard horror stories about catfish scams and mechanics ripping people off. People will honor and respect us if we demonstrate that we are reliable.
Show Humility and Self-Control
No one likes people who are arrogant and feel entitled. People will think more highly of us if we are not self-seeking and can admit our faults when we make mistakes. We should be gentle towards others and not violent or quarrelsome. Our tempers are under control, no matter how aggravating a situation is.
Are Not Lovers Of Money
We are generous to people in need and hospitable. People distrust those who are motivated by acquiring money at any cost.
Do Not Gossip
Our goal should be to live a quiet life, work hard, be independent, and mind our own business. We can be trusted to keep people’s secrets and not to talk about them behind their backs. This quality earns the respect of non-believers as well as other Christians (1Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Speak the Truth
Jesus told the Jews who believed in him that they were truly His disciples if they held onto His teaching. They would know the truth, and the truth would set them free (John 8:31-32). God hates lying and deceit (Proverbs 6:16-17, 12:22).
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
The quote above is a lesser-known part of the ten commandments. It shows that God wants us to value other people's reputations and only speak the truth about them.
Respect the Reputation of Others
A key ingredient to having a good name is respecting other people’s reputations. Our world has an insatiable appetite for gossip and toppling people we uphold as leaders, heroes, and celebrities.
Build the Reputation of the Church
The church’s reputation should be built on the above qualities. The church should demonstrate that it is willing to be open about its weaknesses and faults and admit when they are wrong. The apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for its sin, and they repented (1 Corinthians 5). The church is supposed to be a city on a hill full of light and goodness (Matthew 5:14–16).
Leaders in the church are supposed to have a life above reproach that includes marital fidelity, wisdom, maturity in the faith, gentleness, and self-control. People outside the church speak well of them (1 Timothy 3:2-7, 3:1-10, 12-13, 1 Peter 2:12).
When a Good Reputation is Lost
There are several biblical examples of people who lost their reputations for a time:
- Joseph was falsely accused of sexual assault of Potiphar’s wife
- Job seemed to lose God’s favor when he lost his health, his possessions, and members of his family
- David lost his reputation in several ways such as King Saul accusing David of trying to assassinate him, or his adultery with Bathsheba
These people sought God and over time, their good names were re-established.
As Christians, our goal should have a stellar reputation. We want people to see us as being trustworthy, honest, and having integrity. In turn, we will prosper in our work, businesses, and relationships. When we let our light shine before men, our good work brings glory to God (Matthew 5:16).
Our churches can be safe places with people who are honest and straightforward. A good name can come about if we seek the characteristics and live a Christian life.
The Holy Bible, New International Version
Why Reputation Matters, and Why It Shouldn't. Christian Today, JB Cachila
God Owns Your Reputation, Christian Womanhood
Style or substance: does the reputation of the church matter? Jubilee Centre
© 2021 Carola Finch