The Poison Contained In Reputation

The concern to have a good name is so real and if it is not to all, then it is to majority.   Fascinatingly we want to have a good name in the eyes of them that we know and know us and strangers alike. 

Reputation cuts across all people: the rich and the poor, the old and the young, male and female, parents and siblings, leaders and subjects, employees and employers and so on. Infact, reputation or a good name, is a source belonging too. It takes a popular individual to embrace a product, item, tool, behavior, character trait, etc. for everyone else to follow. Talk of influence. Talk of sales if it happens that your product is the one that is embraced. But, with similar magnitude can the effect be if the same individual ‘scrutinize your product or service’ and decide to take you back to the ground level.

This phenomenon of wanting a good name didn’t originate in our generation. It has always been there. Its popularity has been gaining muscles and popularity over time due to the advancement in technology and connectivity. King Saul, a Biblical character, of Israel is displayed as man, a ruler who had an audience to please, to gain acceptance from and a name to protect. His reputation was important to him. His description is given in 1Samuel 9:2 …Saul, a specially good-looking young man; there was no one better-looking among the children of Israel: he was taller by a head than any other of the people. What a wonderful creation. He becomes the king and a few chapters later his kingdom is at war with Philistines, whose gigantic warrior mocked and caused the army of the Israelite to shiver and cower a lot. David, a young man is led of God and finally overcomes the warrior raising the hope of Israelite’s army and nation at large. The Israelites women burst out in praise and unconsciously accords King Saul THOUSANDS and David TENS OF THOUSANDS. This clicks into the mind of Saul that he’s being demeaned yet he was the king. Enmity between the two was birthed there (1SAmuel 17 &18). prior to this Saul had failed to execute the Amalekites as dictated by God and instead allowed king Agag to live and allowed the people to bring the fattened animals with them. He was seeking acceptance to please them and not to offend them (1 Samuel 15). Similarly in 1 Samuel 13 he offered a sacrifice he was not supposed to. It was the mandate of the prophet Samuel and the answer he gave as to the cause of his action was that THE PEOPLE WERE SCATTERING AWAY. 

Bringing it home to the political arena, places of work, leadership and governance and all places where we live and work acceptance and reputation still disturb us. It so happens that with the technological advancement we experience it even in our private spaces. The world is interconnected and social media is the main sniper in our generation. With Facebook, Instagram, Snap-chat, Twitter, etc. we socialize and become antisocial at the same time. It is in these sites that in the name of seeking for approval, acceptance and followers that enmity have risen. For example take a photo of two individuals and let them upload it Instagram whereby one gets 100 likes while the other gets 1 like and see if the latter one won’t develop a negative liking towards his/her friend. But the question that begs a serious address is: WHEN DID LIKES, RETWEETS, COMMENTS, SHARES BECOME THE INDICATOR FOR APPROVAL? It is with such that hostility, enmity, broken relationships have risen including suicide. Many have gone ahead to embrace foreign character traits, immorality, nudity, drug abuse etc. all for the purpose of making a name for themselves, becoming popular, becoming acceptance and so on.

However, the story doesn’t have to end or take this course. The problem comes when we use the wrong standards: COMPARATIVE LIFESTYLE – wanting to be like the other person, having many followers, likes, shares, etc. These likes and shares and so on are not evil but the problem is when we fail to understand that the opinions of others may shape you but the ultimate standard is God. No wonder the bible says in Genesis 1:26… And God said, Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the earth. No man was a design plan for the other BUT ALL HAVE A COMMON DESIGN: GOD. King David had an understanding of this concept no wonder he writes in Psalms 139:14…I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. This is the same man who dances unto the LORD when the ark of covenant comes back from the land of Philistine till his ROYAL ROBE fells off and his wife despises him. He gives a very profound answer in reply to her question in 2 Samuel 6:19-22… So David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD.” At the point of dancing his reputation was of no importance compared to the GLORY OF THE ALMIGHTY. The one thing we often forget is that I may dismiss your photo, thought, post on social media but I don’t know you which begs the question: WHY SHOULD A STRANGER’S OPINION SINK ME INTO A DAMPNESS THAT IS UNNECESSARY? EVEN IF WE KNOW EACH OTHER, ARE FRIENDS NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE CONTRARY OPINION? Many more questions do arise.

But here is my opinion: every thought, view, action, etc. must be COUNTER CHECKED against the correct standard: GOD. And how to do it is to check what his word says concerning us: human being; I included. At the end of the day, that will count more on what I post and share and what I get back. BOTH the shared and the feedback information must be checked with respect to the BIBLE if the reputation is to be said to have no poison. OTHERWISE, THERE WILL BE POISON IN THE REPUTATION.