Reputation

My reputation has always been important to me.

I wanted a reputation for honest, hard work.  And I longed for recognition as outstanding in what I do.

I never reached the “outstanding” level, but I believe people considered me competent, honest and hard-working. Yet I always felt my reputation could be destroyed in a moment.  As many people have discovered.

This all came back to me this week as a friend and I talked about bullying in the workplace.  In my case, I remember that a person I was helping prepare for an important government conference denounced me in front of others – in effect, she was questioning my competence.  I was not the only person who felt her wrath because she tended to lash out at those who worked with her.

But I was devastated.  Now that I reflect on it, I think I was hurt because I felt my reputation was being cut to pieces.

In that particular case, I chose to let it pass because I felt a Christian should turn the other cheek.  I am not sure it was the wise choice.   I believe I should have talked about it with her and asked her to explain herself.  And I should have voiced my feelings about her tactics.

But, in the end, should a believer put all his hopes in his reputation?

I think about Jesus.  The prophet Isaiah says in his great 53rd chapter: “Like one from whom men hid their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not.”

I think about the apostle Paul.  He was a highly-respected Pharisee, part of the Jewish establishment in Judea.  But after his conversion to Christ, he became a hunted man when he dared to preach the gospel.  In effect, he was a criminal in the eyes of those he once considered colleagues.

But Jesus and Paul accepted humiliation for a higher purpose.  Jesus bore humiliation in order to win the greatest victory in history, the victory of the cross and the resurrection.  Paul accepted the taunts and beatings so that the gospel would spread and people find Christ.

From a believer’s standpoint, the only reputation that really matters is my relationship with God and my treatment of others.  Love is what counts.

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