“A good name, like good will, is got by many actions and lost by one.” -Lord Jeffery
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1).
Though this verse is a very short one-liner, there is an incredible piece of revelation contained in it showing us what we should all be striving for & what is really most important in this life. Life is very short. Sooner or later we will all die & cross over to the other side – which will either be heaven for the saved or hell for the unsaved. Bottom line – God is the Potter & we are the clay. If we can let God do the kind of transformation work He wants to do with us, then we can leave this world having a very good name, then we can have the satisfaction and fulfillment that we did everything God had asked us to do for Him in this life, along with leaving a legacy and loving memories into the hearts of people. A good name requires right desire, training, sacrifice, and daily discipline. It takes a lifetime sometimes to have a good name, but it only takes one mistake, one moment in lapse of judgment to destroy decades of work.
For the most part, a man's reputation is based on his character. A man's character is known by his conduct and his speech. Christ said "every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit." Having made that observation, the Lord explained that the true character of men will be known by their fruits that are by their conduct and speech. God has given us each a name and placed us in a particular family, community and a Nation in order to serve Him to greater heights within that family unit. Before the beginning of time our names were chosen and written in His book of life. So, guard the name to which God has given you.
Also Notice that the ninth commandment forbids the doing or saying of anything that would in any way jeopardize a man's reputation. "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16) What a sad thing it is when a man's good name is ruined because someone deliberately told lies about him. Those who do such a thing take something from a man that can never be fully restored. Once a man's good name has been ruined, it is most difficult to fully restore it. God gave the ninth commandment to preserve the good name of men.
To take this further, we can note that there are three elements in this commandment as given in Exodus 20, First of all, there’s “bearing or giving false witness.” Bearing false witness simply means reporting something that is not true. The second element sometimes captures the intent and motivation, but also and always the outcome. That’s found in the word “against.” This is communicating something that will hurt someone that will be for ill and not for good. Bearing false witness against means passing information that does not defend and promote anyone’s honor and reputation. Finally, the third element is there with the object: “your neighbor.” “You shall not give false testimony/witness against your neighbor.” Then someone might ask who my neighbour is? And we all know the answer that the Lord Jesus gave to that question: our neighbor is anyone whom God places on our path.
From the negative side, the ninth commandment is simply this: we are never to speak words that will attack and hurt those whom God has placed in our lives. we must not give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor condemn or join in condemning anyone rashly and unheard.” It’s not hard to understand.
The Ninth Commandment also requires what is just and proper in our personal relationships, particularly verbally. The Apostle Paul sums up this Commandment in his epistle to the Ephesians:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)Paul instructed us in both the negative and positive aspects of the Ninth Commandment. We should not speak untruths but instead build up one another.
However, God was willing to send His Son Jesus, who in turn was willing to make Himself of no reputation that He might fulfill the Father's will. The Scriptures say of Him, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." This is the One of whom it could be said, "He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." The One, who was without sin, knew what it was to be falsely accused. He suffered not only false accusations; He also suffered the agonies of the cross that He might redeem guilty sinners. The price of our redemption was high. We never could have redeemed ourselves with corruptible things such as silver and gold. Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us what Jesus suffered on the Cross for us: "For He HATH MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." I don't know that we could ever fathom the depth of those words, but I thank God for them.
Remember – when it is all said and done and you get ready to leave this world for the next one, no one will care about how much money you have made or how many earthy possessions you had accumulated. All they will remember is what kind of person in the Lord you had become and how well you had treated other people in this life. How you live, greatly effect how others see you. How we live reflects on God, since we are His children. At least it shapes how others view God. Many times promotions at work or recognition for outstanding accomplishments go to those who are hard workers and have been diligent. Money may or may not provide those opportunities for some, but if you have a good name then you don't have to try to buy those things. A good name also provides trust in relationships – something that can't be bought. A good name can also provide a clear conscience, something we know money can't buy.
In the end we are left with the realization that a good name can get you riches, but riches can't get you a good name. It can also provide you with opportunities that you never knew existed. When you were born, you cried while the others rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, let the others cries while you rejoice. Be a man of God and people will then love you, cherish you, and always remember you for all of eternity. Let it be our prayer “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)