who-am-i-Legendary basketball coach John Wooden often told his college players “Be more concerned about your character than with your reputation.  Your character is who you really are.  Your reputation is what others think you are.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Seems to me that we are more often concerned with our reputation than with our character.  It’s much easier, I suppose, to fool others than to be honest with ourselves, so we find ourselves more concerned with what other think of us than who we truly are.

The great Chicago evangelist Dwight L. Moody was fond of saying, “Character is what a man [sic] does in the dark.” I think he’s right.  Who are we, really, when no one else is around?  When no one else is looking?  When we are by ourselves, what do we do?  When there is no accountability, how do we spend our time?

Most of the time, we feel if we can fool others, we must be fooling God, too.  “If I can just look good to them, I’ll be just fine,” we tell ourselves, forgetting that God is also watching.  That it is God who will do the final judging of who we are, not others.

Character is a matter of integrity.  Does what you say you believe match what you do?  Do you live up to your vows in marriage, work, church?  Do you “practice what you preach”? Or do you practice “convenient discipleship” – giving the appearance that you are maintaining your integrity only when it’s convenient for you?

It is helpful – hard, but helpful – to ask ourselves these sort of questions.  In the end, it doesn’t matter what others think of us (reputation); it matters only who we really are (character).