Character and Reputation

Ellet J. Waggoner : The Present Truth : July 13, 1893

Character is what a man really is; reputation is what others think him to be. There is a vast difference between the two. A man may have a brilliant reputation and a most vicious character. This is very common. On the other hand, a man may have no reputation and an excellent character. Most people think more of having a good reputation than they do of having a good character. With our reputation we have nothing to do; if we take care to have a good character, our reputation will take care of itself. But those who are very jealous for their reputation, devoting all their attention to shielding it, are certain to deteriorate in character. The reason is that character is reality, while reputation is only appearance; and he who spends his whole time “keeping up appearances” will have no time to keep up the realities. The only absolutely perfect character ever known on this earth, “made Himself of no reputation,” and He says to us, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.” Matthew 5.11. “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter.” 1 Peter 4.15, 16