We’ve all heard of famous people—politicians, sports heroes, businessmen, coaches, celebrities, even religious leaders—who have done something to forever ruin their good name. But it’s not just famous people whose names have reputation. Every one of us is known by the name we have made for ourselves, whether by a few or by the world, and the value of that name can increase or decrease in an instant through our own actions. Unfortunately, it seems that a good name is tough to get these days, and it’s even tougher to maintain.
Yet, having a good name or reputation is of utmost importance, especially for Christians. We are God’s ambassadors to the world. Therefore, we have a responsibility to represent the name of Jesus with excellence and to live a life without reproach wherever we are. Proverbs 20:11 says that “even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.” Proverbs 22:1 tells us to “choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” Our good name makes the great name of Jesus known.
So how is your reputation? How are you known? When people think of you, do they think of Christ?
Don’t panic if the answers to the above are negative. No matter what, it’s not too late to begin rebuilding your reputation. In fact, you can begin today! Here are seven ways to get and keep a good name.
- Do what is right.
The best way to gain a good name is to begin doing the right thing, whether someone is watching or not. It’s really that simple. Having a good name is a by-product of the life you live in public and private. Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
- Always be aware that others are watching.
While our motive to do the right thing shouldn’t be to impress others, we must remember that people are always watching. We are on stage. When you associate your name with the name of Jesus, people will watch you. Some will secretly hope you will fail, while others will secretly pull for your success. Either way, you need to know that their eyes are on you, even when you are not aware of it. Don’t slip up when you think you’re alone. Most likely, you aren’t.
- Make your decisions ahead of time.
My father always taught me to make my decisions ahead of time. By determining for myself how I would respond if certain situations arose, I was prepared to act when temptations popped up. These boundaries kept my good name intact. Set your boundaries now! No opportunity will trip you up if you have already decided how you will respond ahead of time.
- Remember why you are different.
It is almost certain that there will be times when you are tempted to give in. When these times arise, stop and think about what you are about to do. Then remember the reason you are committed to a good name. Remember that you have taken on an association with Jesus and giving in would bring a mark against Him as well. Then run from that temptation!
- Underpromise and overdeliver.
It’s often tempting to promise more than we can deliver. We want to please people; we want to look like we can perform at high levels. But if you don’t or can’t live up to your promises, you damage your good name. Make it your practice to underpromise and overdeliver! That way, people will know they can count on you to be true to your word.
- Err on the side of doing the right thing.
There are many times when the “right thing” to do is not black and white. In times like these, err to the side of more. Go a little further than you might think is necessary. Get the opinions of others if you must, but add that one notch at the end. Go a little overboard rather than risk falling short. You won’t be sorry in the long run. Acts 24:16 says we should always “try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.”
- Enlist accountability.
We all have blind spots or areas we cannot see as well as others. Asking others to hold you accountable for your actions will ensure these blind spots are covered. You will be less likely to miss something that could be damaging to your good name when others have your back.
In my business, my inner circle of leadership helps me avoid trouble. You may find help in your spouse, a friend, your minister, or someone else. Regardless of who you are, realize that you need to enlist someone to keep you accountable. There are too many pitfalls out there that will destroy a good name. It is not worth the risk of going it alone!
Written by Chris Patton
Photo by rawpixel.com