"'Is this not the carpenter, [a]the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are His sisters not here with us?' And they were [deeply] offended by Him [and their disapproval blinded them to the fact that He was anointed by God as the Messiah]. Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor (respect) except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.' And He could not do a miracle there at all [because of their unbelief] except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. He wondered at their unbelief." Mark 6:3-5 AMP
Back when I was 19, I decided that I wanted to become a pastor. As I started to tell people that I wanted to be a pastor, something strange began to happen. There were a fewer people that actually believed in me than I thought there would be. There was an overwhelming amount of people that didn’t think I could do it. In their defense, their opinion likely stemmed from being hurt or offended by my sharp tongue in the past. I grew up feeling very insecure about myself, and to compensate, I would put other people down to make myself feel better. If I got attacked, my defense mechanism was to attack back. Similarly, I was nervous to talk to girls, so it was easier to pick on them. I had a hometown reputation that was too large for many people to overlook.
Have you ever had a bad reputation? Like being known as a gossip or a jerk? Or maybe society looked down on you for unfair reasons. You weren’t the star pupil in high school, or you didn’t have the right look.
Jesus had the same problem. Jesus came from a super small town of about 60 families called Nazareth. Everyone knew he was conceived out of wedlock. They had all heard the rumors that Joseph either wasn't the father or broke the purity law of the Jewish faith before marriage. He also was a builder (or carpenter) and not from a prominent rabbinical family. How did He overcome it?
He didn’t let the naysayers affect His decisions, and He surrounded Himself with people that were willing to follow Him toward God’s plans. The most important thing He did was develop His character. Eventually people saw the character of Christ, and thousands began to follow. Our character has the power to overcome our reputation over time. Instead of praying for people to recognize your true identity, be faithful in developing your character. It doesn’t mean everyone will appreciate your life and believe in you, but God will. And that’s all that matters. He will draw the right people around you. The best route in life is to follow Christ and let Him defend your reputation.
Have you ever been belittled because of your reputation, justly or unjustly?
What’s one thing you could do to develop your character?
God, I ask that You would give me the strength to follow You despite what people around me say or think. I desire to have greater character. Give me wisdom to know what steps to take to grow my character.
Godly character is more important than a reputation, good or bad.