Work On Character

20 Oct

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
~ John Wooden

When I stumbled upon today’s quote, I immediately said, “That’s the truth!”  In my life, I have known some people who have had stellar reputations in the community but who were awful souls.  They thrived on their reputation, taking from others and building up their own stores of riches all the while never caring for another person.

I have also known others in the community who had terrible reputations but were actually some of the finest people you would want to know.  They did not allow their reputation to stop them from doing the good works that they so often did in the background.

I have also experienced this dichotomy first hand.  There are a lot of people out there who have their own belief about priests.  Through the years, I have heard that priests were gamblers, drunks, and, most recently, molesters.  I have had people judge me by the “reputation” that priests have without ever knowing me.  While it hurts to have people think you are someone that you are not, it is vital not to allow that to affect you.  I continue to struggle to be the best that I can possibly be.

We need to remember that we are all flawed people because of the consequences of original sin.  However, God has given us the grace to rise above our flaws and become saints.  We should never allow anyone to hold us down and deprive us of the heritage that is ours.  Nor should we allow others to sway us falsely.  There are time that we might build up less-than-deserved good reputations.  If someone is speaking good about us but we know, deep down, that the praise is undeserved because we are not that good, we need to do something to amend our ways.

Life is short.  Even if we live a long time, it pales against eternity.  This short time on earth is a “proving grounds” of sorts.  Let us work on our character today.  If we have developed a good reputation and are truly good, let that not go to our head.  Let us keep on the narrow road.  If we have developed a good reputation and do not deserve it, let us use that as a goal to improve our character so that we are more deserving of our reputation.

If we have gotten a bad reputation and deserve it, let that be a clarion call to change.  If we have gotten a bad reputation and do not deserve it, that is a time to practice humility and forgiveness.  If others eventually change their minds about us, that will be all for the better.  If they do not, do not let it affect your good works or your good character.

FAITH ACTION:  Concentrate on working on your character today rather than your reputation.