Recently, I’ve had time to think about what certain people think of me. When I was younger, this was something that really bothered me because I wanted everyone to like me or at least, see me the way I wanted them to see me and this is probably the same way for every young person. However, when you get older, you learn that you cannot please everyone and when you try to do so, the one that ends up unhappy is the individual trying hard to please all.

My parents used to teach me not to worry about what people think of me but when you’re younger, having people like you or think highly of you is important. It was for me, anyway, and as I have gotten older, I have realized that there are many adults who strive to have people like them. Many of these people will do anything to have these people like them whether it’s spending time with them or go places with them and so forth. This is not a new situation as all of us probably know someone who is guilty of this.

The great coach John Wooden is famous for this line: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. Reputation is what people say you are. Reputation is often based on character – but not always.” When I think of this saying, it really puts things into perspective as we should concern ourselves more with who we are rather than what people think of us. Yes, people may see us based on what we have done but this is not always the case as people have based their ideas and thoughts of me not on anything I have said or done but what they have heard of me.

This is not to say that we should not care about our reputation and we should but the fact is, people are going to think what they want about us regardless of what we do or say. Sadly, I have seen women flock to men who were known to be bad and this is the type of person they wanted to be with. Personally, I do not understand the appeal of a bad girl or boy as both end up nothing but trouble and certainly more trouble than they’re worth but at the same time, I have seen good people passed over because they were too nice.

Maybe it’s human nature for so many of us to be complicated and complex creatures but we were not made this way. After all, we are made in the image of God and God is not the author of confusion and thankfully, I have learned a lot about my reputation and character and take to heart what Proverbs 22:1 reads: “A [good] name [is] rather to be chosen than great riches, [and] loving favour rather than silver and gold.” While this is not something that I understood when I was younger or even a few years, as I age, the more that I understand that we should strive to have a good name rather than great wealth.

Something that I have learned about wealth is it can buy many great things including people around you. This does not mean that they respect you or enjoy you but rather, it goes to prove the old saying true: money makes the world goes around. It can do many great things but it cannot buy happiness and while many people say that it can, just think about all the rich people who have committed suicide despite the large amount of money they possessed. Money is something that has been a favorite of man since the beginning of time and while it is not evil, it does make many people do many evil things and when a man adds together their money and put aside their character, we see Matthew 7:17 come to life: “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”

We must remember that a good name is not necessarily what people think of us but how we live our lives and what God knows about us. As Wooden stated, our character is more important because it’s who we are which is why a good name, not what people think of us, is more important to a person’s life. This is true regardless of what line of work we are in or what neighborhood we live in as I have met people with a lot of money and their character was nowhere to be found but I have known people who had very little and their character was worth more than gold so we must not gauge someone based on what they have but who they are and this is something that takes many of us a long time to learn but is found in Ecclesiastes 7:1: “A good name [is] better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.”

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. Reputation is what people say you are. Reputation is often based on character – but not always.”


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Written by Billy Ray Parrish


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