March 12, 2019
What is the difference between “character” and “reputation”?
In short, character is who you are; reputation is what you are said to be. A person can gain a reputation overnight and living with it can be a painful experience; but our character is fashioned by God and shaped by our walk with Him, and can take a lifetime to perfect.
When you read the scripture and think about someone with a reputation, the first name that comes to your mind is likely, Samson. Samson is a colourful figure for sure, and his actions acquired for him, quite a reputation. He was known by his enemies as “Mighty Samson”, he was also known to have a weakness towards women. Today, when we think of Samson, we remember him for his strength, poor taste in ladies, famous haircut, imprisonment, and final revenge. A reputation once gained is hard to shake!
If, like Samson, you have obtained a bad reputation, I have some good news. After his death, Samson is only once ever mentioned again in the Bible. In Hebrews, chapter eleven, Samson is numbered among the heroes of faith in the Bible. In this chapter of celebration, we read that God didn’t remember Samson for his failure, or revenge… instead our forgiving and gracious God remembers Samson’s faith and character.
Samson had a reputation, but he also believed in a God that is bigger than reputations.
Somewhere in a cold, dark prison, Samson remembered his God and repented of his ways. He entered God’s school of character, a school of suffering, humility and transformation, and he came out a “Hero of faith.”
The good news is that God is bigger than your reputation too. If, whether by your own lifestyle or by the lies of your enemies, you have acquired a reputation, turn to God; enter his school of character and when you graduate your name too will be on the honour roll…right beside Samson.