“Having your [conduct honorable] among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall [observe], glorify God in the day of visitation.” I Peter 2:12
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Your reputation precedes you”? It means people know about you before meeting you, and that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you are. Our reputation is what we are known by, and it has been said that a reputation takes a lifetime to build but it only takes a single event to ruin it.
In my teen years, my reputation was not the greatest and a lot of what people thought about me was simply not true, and it seemed like my life was an urban legend. I was everything from a gang banger to someone who had stolen a car and burned it in the desert. I was accused of carrying a gun when I didn’t even own a real pocket knife. The only knife I owned was the one my dad bought me for camping, and it contained a knife and fork. I usually laughed at what people thought about me, and I did not discourage people from believing these urban legends. I knew one day my reputation would come to haunt me and one day it finally did.
I had asked Rebekah out on a date with me and she agreed. I was 18 and she was 16 and I had even gone through the trouble to ask her dad. We had originally planned to go in the summer, but Rebekah got into some trouble and could not go. Her dad advised me we could go once she was off of being grounded, but my reputation reared its ugly head.
I had attended a high school party which consisted of playing basketball and simply hanging out. The party was mild until I saw someone I didn’t like there. I tried to fight this individual, but he was not having it and I was asked to leave the party. I talked trash to the host and then sped off in my truck. The rumors flew around and there were some who were saying I had a gun. The word got to Rebekah’s brother, and he told her mom. Rebekah’s parents then blocked her from going on a date with me at all, and I had no chance to defend myself. There was enough bad about me that was true, so I really had no leg to stand on. I knew this day would come, and it cost me a date that I was so looking forward to.
What has your reputation cost you? Does your reputation lead people to God or does it drive them in the opposite direction? What do people at work say about you? What does your family say about how you are at home? Do people see God in you or are they clueless that you are a born-again Christian? May our lifestyle be pleasing to God and may others be drawn to our Savior. We are either drawing people to our God or we are pushing them away. The world needs Christians who have a real walk with God and Christians who practice what they preach. May our reputation precede us in a godly manner, and may our character always be pleasing to God.
Stay in the fight!