Home Faith in Practice The ethics of a good reputation

The ethics of a good reputation


By Pr Isaiah White

Hope Olson wrote: “A man who wants to impress a woman may hide some aspects of an unpleasant character from her, or temporarily subdue them without any intention of lasting change.

“Though he may fool you, it is unlikely that he will fool everyone with whom he has contact.

“Therefore, it is wise to pay attention to what other people say about a man whom you are getting to know, particularly people who have known him before your acquaintance with him.

“A man’s reputation may either confirm good character that you have observed or reveal problem areas that you have missed.”

What is a reputation?
There could be various definitions of the term ‘Reputation’ and it might attract different understandings from particular groups of people, but here is what some of the definitions might share in common.

In summary, a reputation is what you are characteristically known for. It is a social evaluation by the public towards a person, a group of people, or organisation.

A reputation is not an outside-inside but an inside-outside business. What this means is that your reputation comes from the way you repute yourself.

You are the commander of the reputation the public attaches to your name. This is to say, that for the pubic to tag you, it depends on the way you have presented yourself.

Every reputation has two significant elements that constitute it; identity and image. Identity is who you know/think you are and an image is how you project that identity.

One‘s reputation is derived from that very projection. How you repute yourself is the name you establish in the public for yourself.

A reputation is the original you. (Photo/Kaspersky)

Reputation in the Bible
In the Word of God, a reputation is one of the many lessons that we are taught.

Proverbs 22:1 states: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”

The Hebrew word for ‘name’ is ‘Shem’ and one of its meanings is ‘reputation’. In other words, we are taught that it is one’s good name (good reputation) that matters more than any other thing in social life.

In the early Church, we are told that for one to be appointed as a Church elder, a good reputation was prerequisite (1Timothy 3:2, 7; 5:9-10).

That reputation was not just a Church reputation, but even how they were known in the public. Cornelius (Acts 10:22), Timothy (Acts 16:1-2), and Ananias of Damascus (Acts 22:12) are reported in scripture as men whose reputation spoke for itself.

When in the Jerusalem, the Apostles advised that the seven men to be chosen for leadership must be men of a good reputation.

“Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty” (Acts 6:3).

Manufactured reputation
What I mean by ‘manufactured reputation’ is that since a reputation is that important, some sinners have mastered the art of projecting to the public a good name yet in essence they are not the good they project.

Jesus reminded us of such a manufactured reputation when He warned all of us in Luke 6:26 in these words: “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you! For in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets.”

In the New Testament, the original word in Greek for a good reputation is ‘martureó’, meaning to ‘give a good testimony’.

Reputation is a social evaluation by the public towards a person. (Source/Reputation Defender)

It has been a culture in our generation for antagonistic people to use the media to market themselves as good people.

This is what I call a manufactured reputation; it is not who that person is but how the market place (media and other beneficiaries) has presented him.

Jesus warned us about such a reputation that has a label of “made in or made by”, but not actually who you.

It is a hypocritical reputation. If you know you are not the person who the public says you are, then you are guilty and called to repent such a manufactured reputation.

A reputation is the original you. And it is ethical to live an original lifestyle. However, here is the challenge when you live an original lifestyle, not all people will appreciate you nor agree with you but others will.

However, if you choose the ethical way, you will be saved from a Pharisee-like unethical and hypocritical way of living.

Here is what our Lord said:
“Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”

For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they ‘themselves’ will not move them with one of their fingers(Matthew 23:1-10).

The writer is a life coach and theologian.
Contact: +256 775 822 833


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here