A Good Name: Proverbs 22:1

A Good Name: Proverbs 22:1

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
    and favor is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 22:1

I have heard the following expression, “I don’t care what people think about me,” many times. I have often used it, mainly when I lived as though I knew it all. I grew up and learned that I don’t know it all, and I do care what people think about me within certain specific circumstances: those times when I can exercise a certain degree of control over it. What do I mean? I mean that there are times when people will not think highly of me due to circumstances they are not fully aware of or do not understand. There are times when I know I am walking with integrity, yet some will besmirch my good name. I cannot control that. Some people are ignorant and speak to matters they don’t understand or know. They are annoying, to be sure, but I rarely care about those things. What is important to me- and should be important to you – is how you have some control over your reputation and good name. Sadly, many give little thought to their reputation and wander into matters that only leave them with a ruinous one with little to no respect from anyone. The list of those times is legion, frankly, and it would cause a very long article on this subject. Most of us inherently know what they are because we are moral creatures made in the image of God. Of course, that requires an honest evaluation of your life. However, there are two items to consider:

First, to have a good name, you must first desire it. Many people, sadly, do not give much thought to this subject. They wander into stupid issues without considering the morality of the matter. Then they wonder why people lose respect for them and blame others for their sordid opinions. That is foolishness. Many people give more thought to what they are going to have for lunch than they do the way they are living. They steal, lie, twist the truth, get into compromising circumstances, etc., and then wonder why people think less of them. The blame resides, first, in the fact that they did not care enough about their reputation to walk carefully through the various affairs of life. The second reason is below.

Second, if you desire a good name, you will consider your life. You will know your frame and know that you are dust. All of us are weak, unprofitable servants of the Lord. We easily stray from the life God has commanded us to live. We are like sheep, and the pasture God has us is not always pleasing, and we then jump over the fence into a field not made for us. In other words, we do not consider the consequences of our behavior. How often do we consider things beyond our noses? Most of us live moment by moment and rarely consider the implications of our choices and actions. Therefore, you must consider your life and behavior. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is a life motto for all Christians: “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Therefore, ask yourself, “Is what I am about to do glorifying to God?” Putting it more simply: “Are my actions disobedient to the plain teachings of the Bible?” Of course, things are not always easy to anticipate. Life is messy. A person concerned with a good reputation will first consider the name of the Lord and then pray for wisdom. 

No one said having a good name is easy. Some people are ignorant and will draw conclusions without any basis or reason. Some, however, deserve the reputation they get because they do not carefully consider their lives and frame them according to the standards of God’s holy Word.