Solomon writes: “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Prov. 22:1)
A good name relates to integrity of life. An honorable reputation enables us to serve others with credibility and trust. In the duress of temptation, we have incentive to live up to our good name.
Without thinking ourselves better than others (Rom 12:3), it is appropriate to care for our good name—up to a point.
When our good name is threatened by detractors who carelessly spread their criticism, the ensuing scuttlebutt can incite us to overreaction and retaliation.
At such times it is not a vigorous defense that protects our reputation. The best safeguard for our good name is the consistent and determined practice of day-to-day integrity.
Francis de Sales, a church leader and reformer in the seventeenth century, used this illustration: when hair is pulled out by the roots, it is hard to restore; but when hair is cut, it grows back abundantly. When the razor of slander besmirches our reputation and, despite this, we persist in exemplary living, our good name is not in any lasting jeopardy.
When we are maligned and persist in consistent gospel living, we can trust Jesus to care for our good name (Ps.37:5-6). If he allows us to lose it for a time, we can advance in humility and grow in character. A good name on such a strong foundation is truly more desirable than great riches.