When teaching me about preserving a good reputation, my mother used to tell me, “Whatever you do, be able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.” This was her way of saying that I shouldn’t be ashamed to face myself, that I should accept whatever my life reflects to me and others. I used my mom’s mirror barometer for most of my life until a bad decision resulted in an unforeseen consequence for me, and I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, and I wondered what others would think of me. I was ashamed of who I was and didn’t want to see myself. This didn’t change until I looked into a different mirror, the mirror of God’s word:
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” Romans 1:23-25.
I wanted the reflection of my life to show that I saw my flaws and worked to fix them and that I avoided self-imposed standards because the barometer for my reputation was the mirror of God’s word. Doing so would garner me a good reputation, one that could tell other Christians, as the Apostle Paul did, “follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). I wanted people to know that I was obeying God rather than man (Acts 5:29) so even non-believers in Jesus Christ would glorify God in the end (1 Peter 2:12).
God calls us to seek a good reputation, not for money and material items or popularity but so we will be a great example for other Christians and those outside the faith. This seeking is about God’s kingdom. We have to stop being concerned about whether we like what our personal mirrors reflect and allow the Bible to be the mirror that we use.
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith