Rulers who respect reputation rather than truth have as much power as brigands in a desert.
When reputation (which is what everybody knows about us) becomes more important than character (which is what God knows about us), we have become hypocrites!
We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark- the imaginations of our minds, the thoughts of our heart, the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God’s sight. Character is what you are in the dark.
The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character. Reputation is what you are supposed to be; charaacter is what you are. Reputation is the photograph; character is the face. Reputation comes over one from without; character grows up from within. Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; character is what you have when you go away. Your reputation is learned in an hour; your character is built in a lifetime. Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like the oak. A single newspaper report gives you your reputation, a life of toil gives you your character. Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable. Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what the angels say about you before the throne of God.
If your reputation is perfectly intact on every front, if you never irritate anyone, if you never make a stir, you might be doing something wrong – or more likely, you’re not doing something right. “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). The Bible has a crystal clear promise: All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). If we never experience persecution, if we never make a single soul angry (as Christ often did), something is probably wrong.