Gaining a New Reputation

My husband, Justin, is co-authoring today!

reputation“Why do they still think of me the way I was three years ago? Can’t they see I’ve changed?” Chuck had given his heart to the Lord about 12 years ago, but had seen little change in his spiritual life until the last three. He knew of the heart-wrenching moments when he had come to a place of surrender and allowed the Lord to work in him a heart change of pride to humility. Nothing was more precious to him than seeing his own weaknesses transformed by the power of the Word. He walked in new places of strength as he let go of the sins that he had given into repeatedly. One thing was bothering him now. He knew he had some major changes, God certainly knew that he had matured as a Christian…why didn’t others understand the same thing?

The Possession of a Reputation

You aren’t the one who holds your reputation. The other person is the one who holds a reputation of you, and it may or may not be accurate. The fact is, you are a new creature when you are saved, but you are also a work in progress. God is changing you in different areas as you continually grow and mature in Him. You are building a new reputation. In Matthew 12:33-34 you can see that you are known by your fruit, and you’re going to speak what is in your heart good or bad.

Others can’t begin to see what is in your heart until you open your mouth. That’s why you need to be talking about what God has done in you. Your testimony is a platform for those around you to see how you have been an overcomer. Satan may use pride as a temptation to choke it out. Don’t let him. Lay the pride aside, and let others know how God showed you specifically what was in you and you repented.

Apply Wisdom

It takes a lifetime to gain a favorable reputation, but only one act of foolishness can cause it to slip away. Wisdom needs to be applied when you share an intimate heart change. Paul did not hesitate to share his past, but he did not share it in every city to which he wrote. You need the balance of being led by the Spirit. Maybe you did hate your sister because of envy, but sharing it could wreck the relationship. On the other hand, you may feel that you need to share it because God knows she suspected that of you and asked Him for evidence of a change of heart. The story of Joseph and his brothers comes to mind here.

Let’s Flip Your Role

Maybe you’re not in Chuck’s shoes; maybe you’re the one looking at Chuck. Perhaps you can think of someone who has a reputation for gossip or who has a critical nature. You shake your head, “He hasn’t changed, hasn’t changed, hasn’t changed!” Remember, you don’t often see the heart changes of others. Your thoughts and feelings toward that person should be “love thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5d). God sees you as a work in progress, see that other brother as a work in progress, too. Realize that we are all at a different place in our walk with God.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NKJV

What can you share right now about a recent heart change God has worked in you? Do you need to change your thinking towards someone because his reputation has preceded him?

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Photo by xJasonRogersx (Creative Commons)

9 thoughts on “Gaining a New Reputation

  1. Beautiful post…I have been on both sides of this spectrum….both being the sinner and watching the sinner…and think, in reality, this is where the plank…and the writings of the sand come in with Love your Neighbor as yourself. We are all being transformed…and we will all sin….I pray that one day, I’ll stop ‘messing up’…so that the true heart change that is taking place and has taken place will be visible…for HIS glory…not my own.Thank you for this sweet post!!!!

    • Very well said, Rebecca. I think the “love your neighbor as yourself” thing and the principle of doing unto others as we want them to do to us is key. If someone observes a weakness in our lives, we’d want them to extend grace to us. We certainly wouldn’t want them to look down on us or verbally tear us apart. We should extend the same patience that we desire to others as we all grow and mature in Christ. Imagine if we all showed everyone around us the same love/mercy/grace that we personally receive from God. That just might be what Jesus was describing in John 13:35…

    • The whole “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” comes to mind. We are so used to hearing it. The work is when we apply it each time, and the work becomes more and more visible. I pray that I will keep in my mind that the Father will be glorified through my surrender. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.

  2. Such a true picture! We are all on both side of this. We need our eyes washed daily, minute by minute to see ourselves and others how the Father sees. He is ALWAYS working. He is always drawing,calling,transforming…we never know how many times a person bit their tongue in a day: we tend to focus on the one time they slip. God gives grace to the humble! Have mercy on me Father..let me show mercy ! Thanks for sharing this today!

    • That’s a wonderful idea (and prayer), Juanita. «God, let us see ourselves/others how you see us/them.» I believe He sees us as works in progress. He doesn’t strike us down with lightning every time we miss the mark; neither should we figuratively do that when we see or experience others sin. I agree with your prayer: «Father, have mercy on me, and let me show the same kind of mercy to others!»

  3. We truly are ALL a work in progress. Over my spiritual lifetime the Lord has made so many changes in my physical life, thought life, and emotional life and I too have become discouraged when others have not noticed and treat me according to who they THINK I am. However, I must admit I have done the same thing with others. You are right, no one can read another person heart – all we can do is read their life. Just when I get to the point when I start looking at others ACTIONS and start judging them by what they DO instead of who they ARE is when the Lord begins another work in me. My desire is to look at people as the Lord sees them and not care how others look at me – will I ever get to that place? Only by the grace of God.

    • “Just when I get to the point when I start looking at others ACTIONS and start judging them by what they DO instead of who they ARE is when the Lord begins another work in me.” Amen, Charlotte. It is a work, and I pray the same for me, too. I think we can get to that place more and more by the grace of God and also by the renewing of our mind. Thanks for being so transparent.

  4. Pingback: Forgive, but Not Forget? Not Exactly | KellyRBaker

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