Funny how when I say I’ll post tomorrow, life happens and tomorrow becomes 4 days later. Oops.
Today is all about hiding behind your (good) reputation. I can look back (mainly on my high school years) and definitely see that my reputation was extremely important to me. I cared a lot about how people viewed me. I knew adults at church thought I was mature, responsible, and a good Christian girl. I wanted my friends to see the same, but I also wanted them to see a funny, caring, always-there-for-you friend.
So I tried to be those things – none of which are bad, by the way. And honestly I believe those are just parts of my personality. I love to have fun and be funny, but I’m more mature than some people my age. I’m a responsible, caring person, for the most part. It’s how I was raised to behave, and it seeped into me and became who I am.
When I thought about hiding behind my reputation, I didn’t see how that would play a part in my life. I mean, I had a great reputation…why would I hide behind it?
But it makes sense. Yes I’m responsible and caring, but not all the time. I’m also selfish and a bit impulsive when it comes to buying craft supplies and scarves. :) It’s easier to not show that side and just stick with the part everyone knows.
I was good before Jesus. I was good after Jesus. No fireworks. No parades. No dramatic turnarounds. And so it was that I continued with my good way of life, giving myself credit for all of my own goodness.
I can relate to that because I don’t have what many think of as a ‘powerful testimony.’ Honestly, I think they’re all powerful. But in our culture we tend to admire and become even jealous of those that can say they were addicted to drugs, pornography, were arrested, and then learned about Jesus…and now they’re clean and have a successful business and lead a Bible Study etc etc.
That’s powerful, no doubt about it.
But it isn’t my Story, and maybe it’s not yours either.
*Both, by the way, are fantastic. One is not better than the other because Jesus is present in both. They’re just different Stories.*
Because I was good before, I just kept being good. There wasn’t a difference, in that way. So it was, and sometimes is, easy to just give myself credit for being good (it’s how I was raised, my personality, etc).
Another thing in Chapter 3 that stood out to me was this quote:
Character refers to who you are. Reputation refers to who people think you are. I generally care more about who people think I am than who I really am. But Jesus was not a person trying to keep a good reputation intact. During his life on earth, he never tried to explain himself for the sake of his reputation.
Isn’t that interesting to think about? If someone says something negative about me, I feel the need to defend myself. I want people to know the truth. And if I’m not able to say something to prove them wrong, I determine to show them wrong. For example, if I’m called loud I will be noticeably more quiet. But Jesus just kept on being Jesus, no matter what names he was called, no matter who thought what.
We could say He just didn’t care because He was God, but honestly I think if I lovingly made something and then it turned on me and beat me, hated me, spit on me, called me terrible things? Well, I would care. It would hurt. I would want to yell back, “I made you. Beat that.”
He didn’t. He just took it.
He probably knew only One opinion matters anyways.
This quote from Fil Anderson in Breaking the Rules is fascinating to me:
He breaks all social etiquette in relating to people. He acknowledges no barriers or human divisions. There is no category of sinners he isolates himself from. Simply stated, Jesus is a miserable failure at meeting religious people’s expectations of him. He connects with the kinds of people he should disregard. He attends the wrong dinner parties. He is rude to respected religious leaders and polite to whores. He reprimands his own followers and praises outsiders and riffraff.
One more quote from Emily:
Though he was without sin, there were still those who questioned his reputation. Knowing there were people who disagreed, even hated him, didn’t cause him to change one thing he did. He wasn’t working to maintain a good reputation. He was walking in dependence on his Father. Jesus didn’t value what people thought; he valued people, period.
If the only perfect one couldn’t have a ‘good’ reputation (not character), why do I strive for it?
I want that to be said of me, I valued people. Period.
What a legacy, huh?
What about you? What do you work to maintain? Is reputation something you care much about?
*Affiliate link used.