Your reputation is generally considered to be what people think about you; but it is grounded on what you know and think about yourself. Do you identify yourself daily with honesty and integrity? Do you think and act honestly and courageously? If so, you are identifying yourself as related to God, for these qualities are allied to Him.
The Bible clearly implies that God is Truth - ''a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he,'' n1 it tells us. And the Scriptures state that man is made in the very image of God. n2 In absolute reality, then, man is the constant expression of Truth.
n1 Deuteronomy 32:4.
n2 See Genesis 1:27.
It's clear that some people are far from this ideal, living contrary to their true selfhood as the image of the ''just and right'' God. Sometimes people imagine they can live successfully by maintaining good appearances while being secretly unethical or immoral. Yet they are really fooling themselves. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy n3 points out: ''Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help.'' n4
n3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health, p. 453.
When people are deluded into behaving unethically, they aren't identifying themselves or others as the children of God, of Truth. What happens when one does, wholeheartedly, identify himself correctly?
We can find out from the example of Joseph in the Bible. n5 He had been through a rough experience, appearing to be the unfortunate victim of selfishness and injustice, victimized by the members of his own family. His brothers had caused him to be sold into slavery in Egypt. Yet he kept his honesty and integrity, and because of his good reputation was put in charge of his master's house. But then the master's wife, having failed to seduce Joseph, told lies about him, convincing her husband that Joseph had made advances toward her.
n5 See Genesis, chapters 37-45.
Joseph ended up in prison with his name blackened. Yet he maintained, in prison, a reputation for trustworthiness and reliability. In fact, he was given responsibility for the other prisoners. Eventually, the Pharaoh himself had Joseph come to him because of his prophetic ability, and subsequently made Joseph second in command over Egypt. This remarkable story illustrates Christ Jesus' words ''By their fruits ye shall know them.'' n6
n6 Matthew 7:20.
Regardless of how muddied the waters seemed to be, no matter how confusing the circumstances appeared, Joseph was known by his fruits, not by the mere opinions of others.
But what if someone has a bad reputation because he has actually done wrong? Is it too late? Can he do more than vainly hope that someday he may ''live it down''? Healing is possible - and just as quickly as the individual is ready for it. To change a mediocre or a bad reputation takes desire. It takes a commitment to reason spiritually, from the basis of man's true selfhood, and to stick with God-inspired integrity in thought and deed. But anyone who desires to can find healing.
Consider the woman who came to Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee and washed the Master's feet with her tears. She was known as a sinner, probably a prostitute. Yet her desire for moral uprising was so great that she humbly and wholeheartedly turned to Christ Jesus for help. Her sins were forgiven, and she was lifted to a higher standpoint. n7
n7 See Luke 7:36-50.
What is your reputation? How are you known by God? As upright. He knows you as His beloved child, the very image of Truth and Love. This is your reputation in the truest, most lasting sense.
Love this relationship to your Father-Mother God above all else. Cherish it, and strive day by day to live it through loyalty to the one God and to your true , spotless selfhood. Mrs. Eddy writes: ''Ask yourself: Am I living the life that approaches the supreme good? Am I demonstrating the healing power of Truth and Love? If so, then the way will grow brighter 'unto the perfect day.' Your fruits will prove what the understanding of God brings to man.'' n8
n8 Science and Health, p. 496. DAILY BIBLE VERSE what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8