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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration #48 --- Character & Reputation

Updated on March 7, 2011

Quotations on Character & Reputation

The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character.

Reputation is the photograph; character is the face.

Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.

Reputation is a manufactured thing rolled and plated and hammered and brazed and bolted; character is a growth.

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 does not come to light for a year.

Reputation is made in a moment; character is built through a lifetime.

Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like an oak.

Reputation goes like the mushroom; character lasts through eternity.

A single newspaper report gives you your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character.

If you want to get a position, you need a reputation; if you want to keep it, you must have character.

Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what the angels say about you before the throne of God.

Reputation is the basis of the temporal judgment of men; character is the basis of eternal judgment before God.

Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable.

—W. Hersey Davis, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 14, 1939.

We look about us; we view on every hand characters of all kinds from the very lowest to the most exalted. Various conditions and environments have wrought these several characters. They have been carved out by different workmen, and each had his own particular design.

We have only to take an introspective view of ourselves to determine the exact formation of our characters. If they are deficient in some respects we know the cause of them being so; or if they are without a blemish we know why they are so. Our characters are what we make of them, not what others would have them be.

It lies within our power to so conduct ourselves that we make a bright, shining character--one that the meanest person in the whole world could not tarnish; or, we may so order our lives as to make the very basest character--one that the most noted divine could not cause to shine.

We must not confuse the term character with that of reputation. We may have a good reputation while we may be poor, or vice versa. Reputation is simply a shield to protect character, if it needs protection, or a dagger in the hands of the base.

How many of our would-be worthy citizens, if the veil of reputation was withdrawn, would not reveal the blackest of characters?

—Joseph Roberts, Autumn Leaves, Lamoni, Iowa, March 1895.

Character and reputation are regarded as synonyms, yet they are far separated. A great chasm yarns between them. We resent anything that reflects on our reputation. Reputation is like the paint on the outside of the house. Character is the frame, the rafters, the roof, the structure itself, of the man or woman. Reputation is rather the rattle of the wagon while character is the wagon itself. Reputation is what the world sees in us as we pass across the stage of life. Character is what we are when the curtain falls and in the darkness only God sees and knows our real selves. If, in the exigencies of life, we get to where there is to be a choice between saving our reputation or character, it is far better that we lose the former and preserve the latter.

—Robert E. Goodrich, The Monroe News-Star, Monroe, La., June 1, 1929.

It is necessary for us to have firmly fixed in our minds the difference between reputation and character. According to Webster, reputation is what we are thought to be, our character is what we really are. The two may differ vastly. On the other hand, they may coincide. The public can give one reputation in large measure, and in less time take it away. No one can give another character--not even the Lord, and no one can take it away. No one but the individual can make or destroy character. Many persons have gone down tarnished and ruined by the destruction of their reputation under public sentiment, when before God and the bar of their own conscience their characters shown as Jupiter in the sky. Horace Greely, just before dying, gathered his strength and said, "Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today will curse tomorrow, only one thing endures--character." The model character is Christ. ... A character is good or bad in proportion to its adherence to [His] principles. A man may say, "I don't care anything about character. I am not trying to build it." Whether we are conscious of it or not, each one is building a character.

—J.T. Griswold, Childress Index, Childress, Texas, May 28, 1913.

How much are you worth in character, which is the coin of heaven? There is no wealth comparable to the wealth of moral character. ... Character counts for so much more than money that money counts for but little in estimates of the really great. How much are you worth in honesty, in veracity, in personal purity, in unselfishness, in amiability? You may be a pauper in money wealth but a millionaire in character.

How much are you worth in reputation? Solomon says, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." (Proverbs 22:1.) Reputation is to be distinguished from character. Character is what God sees us to be. Reputation is what man thinks we are. Character is what we are. Reputation is what we appear to be. Character is the more important, but reputation is a close second. Reputation represents our influence. To throw away reputation is to throw away power for good over your fellowmen. How easy to lose our reputation, how hard to get it back again! Guard well your reputation, but don't save your reputation by losing your character.

—Curtis Lee Laws, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, March 17, 1924.

The real essence of mankind is character. Character cannot be inherited except from a heavenly father. Character and reputation differ from each other, as one is concrete actuality, while the other is the outward manifestation. Good reputation and good character often accompany each other, but this is not always so. [We] should earnestly strive to establish good character, independent of any extraneous circumstances. In laying a foundation for the building of life, the preparation for this work should be included. On what foundation should such character be built? Jesus said, "Behold, I lay up in Zion a sure foundation stone." Paul said, "There is no surer foundation stone than Christ." Any character, to endure, must be established on the cardinal principles of Christianity. Begin the foundation on the Rock of Ages, but be heedful how the structure is built. Simply by trusting in God will not affect the work of modeling a Christian character. Careful work is necessary. All inferior material must be rejected. In our character the public and official aspect must be no more important than the private emotional detail. We must give great care to the cultivation of the finer graces of humanity. The scaffolding of a building is of secondary importance; so in regard to character--the intellectual and social attributes are means to an end, and should not be considered of too great importance. We must not suppose that because we have the advantages of mental and social position that we are necessarily equipped with a good character. Good character is the only thing which can be removed with us to the other world.

—D.I. Purser, The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, La., Jan. 27, 1895.

Some things must be faultless in order to be valuable. The value of a diamond depends on its quality, not its quantity. Character--a man may be known by five things. First, his character, what he is. Second, his conversation, what he says. Third, his conduct, by what he does. Fourth, his contributions, what he gives. Fifth, his creed, what he believes.

Love is the greatest thing in the world. Character is the grandest. It will remain when all things else are taken away. You can't lose character. It will stay when your money is gone. It will stay when your friends are forsaking you. You can't burn up character. You can burn up money, you can burn up your house, you can burn up your clothes, but you can't burn up your character.

It won't blow away. It can't be lost. You can't buy new character. A reputation may be lost in one act of your life. You can lose a reputation that it's taken you a lifetime to build up.

Character has to be flawless, and I bring before you Jesus Christ. Can you find any fault in Him? He claimed to be the Son of God, and can you prove that that claim was false? All right, all right, I challenge you. Can you find any flaw in that claim? Didn't He talk like the Son of God should have talked? And didn't He talk like you would if you had been the Son of God? Did He say anything that you wouldn't have said if you had been the Son of God instead of Him?

Jesus is against all crookedness. Are you? Jesus is against all vice. Are you? Jesus is against all dishonesty. Are you? Jesus is against everything where men feed and fatten and gormandize upon the misfortunes and sins of others. Jesus Christ never dealt in generalities. ... He was the bravest preacher that ever breathed. ...

He shot His preaching into the biggest guns of the synagogues. "Oh!" He said, "Woe unto you! You devour widows' houses and for pretense you have long-winded prayers, and you will have the greater damnation. Woe unto you! You do everything to make a proselyte, and when you have found him, he is twofold more the child of hell than one of you.

"Woe unto you! You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men and you won't go in yourself and you are keeping everything else out. You are a dog in the manger. You neither eat the hay nor let the horse have it. Woe unto you!

"You have done the small things, but you neglect the weightier matters of the law, such as mercy, equity, truth, love thy neighbor as thyself. Woe unto you!"

Now listen. You take out of this world all that Jesus Christ has done for it, and it wouldn't be worth a rummage sale. ... Everything that is done for the benefit of humanity, all charity, it all comes through the principles of Jesus Christ.

"I find no fault in him." (John 19, 4, 6.) Can you find any fault with what His teaching has done for the world? Wherever His teaching has been accepted and believed, it has made the desert to blossom as the rose. Homes have been made happy. Drunkards have been made sober. Tears have been dried on the cheeks. Mothers have been able to sleep.

Blasphemers have been made to pray. Girls that sold their womanhood now go home with tears and repentance coursing down their cheeks. Men have been made true to their wives, and employers true to those that toil.

—Billy Sunday, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Dec. 15, 1918.

Your reputation is what people think you are. Your character is what your wife, God and the angels know about you.

—Billy Sunday, Jackson Daily News, Jackson, Miss., Jan. 5, 1925.

Many men are troubled about their reputation. Let them see to their characters, that they be true and upright always, and God will take care of the reputation.

—J.B. Cranfill, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, June 6, 1901.

Reputation is what men think of you, but character is what God thinks of you. Reputation may be temporary, but character is eternal. Let us all seek character, and let reputation take care of itself.

—J.W. Lowber, Austin Daily Statesman, Austin, Texas, April 23, 1906.

Character is the standard gauge by which to measure a man. While reputation is a wonderful thing, it is only a standard by which one is measured before his fellowman. Character is what one is measured by before God. Character is a man's own, and he is the sole guardian of it.

—Trigg A.M. Thomas, DeRidder Enterprise, DeRidder, La., July 18, 1930.

Remember that your character is what you are. Reputation is what people say about you. Yourself is your character. Your investitures gratuitously donated by your friends is your reputation. Do your part in life that character and reputation may justly and harmoniously blend in that faultless judgment pronounced by your own pure and undefiled conscience. In the market place of life character often goes at a cheap bargain, and for this the reputation of the best must suffer--how many, alas, are sinned against more than sinning.

—Tullius C. Tupper, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 18, 1900.

Life is filled with forms of failures. We are successful only as we are able to edge our way past these forms.

A few of these are as follows: To be blind to the fact that you might fail. (Most successful people fail time and time again.) To refuse to be corrected. To take and to lean. To fail to get up when you are down. To be constantly studying the faults and mistakes of others. To harbor the idea that the world owes you a living. To accept service without giving it.

To lose your money doesn't make you a failure. Neither does losing your reputation, for reputation is only what others think you are. That opinion can be changed over night. But not to give the world a character is truly to fail. For character is all that you are, all that you have worked for and suffered for, all that you have built, in secret and in the open, years and years of this and that, that the crowd outside knows nothing of. Character, which is all that you are, both good and bad.

Not to have character is to spread before all the world that you are a failure.

—George Matthew Adams, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, La., Nov. 2, 1926.

Never try to be other than yourself, be it ugly or pretty. Never be afar from the path you know in your heart and soul is the path you would be sure to take were you to select it for yourself. Never be ashamed of appearing before choice company in your working clothes, for the dirt and grime of Labor can be washed off in the few minutes, whilst the sham and deceit we practice on others will live for a lifetime and be the greatest stain on our character and reputation we could possibly place on it. ...

The greater depths of the soul can be read after a few moments, and our sham will be as easily detected as though we had taken a mirror and had placed it in front of our brain. There are some who seem to think that they can get away with sham, but their little escapades are so easily broken through that we wonder how anyone could even for a moment think that we cannot see their real selves.

Be yourself at all times--the world will appreciate you the more. Beauty of figure is only temporary, but beauty of heart, of soul, of character and of self will last as long as Life--and even after Life has passed from us, we will still be known for our real selves if we are but natural in our life on earth.

—L. Sumpter Augustin, The Bogalusa Enterprise and American, Bogalusa, La., Oct. 16, 1931.

A man of character [is] one who is genuine, one who professes to be good, and he is thereby great because his profession is truth. Someone has said that reputation is what people think of us, while character is what God knows of us. The derivation of the word is “strength.” It is of Greek origin and signifies originally the work of an engraver, the work of a man who with hammer and chisel cuts deep into the stone. It is as the granite shaft thus cut bearing an inscription for future generations as compared with a painted post, the letter of which may be removed by the storm of a single evening. Character is the man, reputation the clothes. ...

A man of character is indeed precious, more precious than fine gold. ... That kind of a man is true, there is no camouflage about him or his actions. He is what he seems to be and in that lies the glory of his liberty. He is not afraid of being found out. He walks straight with a firm tread and uplifted face with no fear that someone will confront him before whom he has to drop his eyes in shame. The man who keeps the law is the man who can look the whole world in the fact without embarrassment.

This is a day of counterfeits and imitations, of adulteration and substitutes even in the necessities of life. And do you know the devil’s shop is well supplied, and he is an expert in everything such as bait that cannot be refused. ... Worth is in all men and women who are genuine men and women who can be trusted in public affairs because they have proved themselves trustworthy in small affairs.

If you would succeed in developing that character, put yourself into your work. There are too many of us turned out man-made goods, fabricated because we have not given attention to every thread and fibre, we won’t take the trouble in the making. We work be rote and rule instead of by law. Men make rules; the laws that shall endure are decreed of God. There is too much professionalism manifested in the doings of men and they have in many cases forfeited their power to feel human sympathy. ...

The work that lives and develops is that that partakes of the worker. Think of the Christ. He gave Himself; the spark of His very nature, of His very Spirit was in every word that He spoke by way of instruction, condemnation, warning and encouragement, and that is why He is the one of all that have ever trodden the earth of whom most has been said and sung. This caused men to accept Him as the Son of the living God, the Savior and Redeemer of the race. ...

I am sure you have seen physical giants, men in whom the muscular had been trained until they were able to perform seemingly impossible feats, but whose minds could scarcely be discovered. I have seen just such monstrosities in the form of overtrained minds and neglected bodies. Neither type of man is the man needed in these days that should be more precious than fine gold; he is in the way. ...

It was intended that we should cultivate all our faculties, that we should develop, not merely grow. There is a vital distinction between the two processes, which is too often lost sight of. Growth is a process of creation, a mere massing of substance. Development is an extension, an expansion, an amplification of power, and we are placed here not to grow, but to develop in all godliness, and the work of the world is required at our hands, and is in part godliness. ... Be happy in your work, and draw a distinction between happiness and pleasure, for one is as the gilded brass and the other genuine metal royal. Happiness leave no bad taste in your mouth or that nauseating feeling that follows the wrong kind of pleasure. A good man ought to be happy and will be, for happiness is a gift from God. The price of happiness never brings a sting. ...

Honesty is not a policy. The man who is honest because he finds it to be an advantage will turn dishonest just as soon as conditions seem to point to his advantage in that direction. ... I do not think much of the man who is honest to all appearances because he thinks to make something in that way. I would rather deal with a dishonest man who was known to be dishonest than with the man who is honest simply because he is afraid of punishment. There are some slaves to duty; they will do what they should because it is in their duty. There is much to be said in their praise and in their honor. That impelling purpose is far above the other, and yet I cannot admit that it is the highest. ...

All our actions should be prompted by our love for righteousness. I would have a man to be truthful because he is thoughtful. I would have a man to be honest not because it to be a policy to be honest, but because he is an honest man. I would have him serve God because he loves God and loves righteousness, and not because he wishes to confirm to a conviction that it is his duty to go to church or to say his prayers. I detest that expression, “saying prayers.” ... Prayer is not a matter of word, gesture or posture; it must come from the heart. Do you know the fervor and passion of a prayer when you are alone and not a participant in a public meeting? Do you know what it is to really pray? If you don’t there are lessons yet for you to learn in life that are worth more than any course you have taken. ...

You should have made it a rule to tell the truth regularly, and if you do this you will by and by get into the state and condition where it will not make you sweat to tell the truth. Where do you stand as to telling the truth? Does it require an effort to tell it? ... Learn to recognize the good in life and to live it. Do you know that badness is an abnormality, and that goodness is normal? We shall come to recognize that some day. If we want to find badness in the world we surely shall find it. ...

Be honest because you are honest. Know that an honest man pays his debts and that you are deeply indebted. You are indebted to [your] dear fathers and mothers, and grandfathers and grandmothers. ... And there are numerous other debts that await your attention. If you cannot pay anything of the principal just now, keep up the interest. Do not fall behind but do for others what others have done for you. Maintain the honor of [your] fathers and mothers, who made it possible for you to be here today. Go forth to work. I can speak nothing better than to voice to you the injunction of the ancient prophet, “And now my son, my daughter, be up and doing and the Lord be with you.”

—James E. Talmage, The Journal, Logan, Utah, June 10, 1919.

Reputation is character minus what you’ve been caught doing.

—Wesley S. Izzard, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Dec. 16, 1954.

Character is the thing some people are developing while others are getting a reputation.

Character is the one thing that no depression can take away from us.

Character is the asset that never loses its value.

Character is the measure by which all men must ultimately be measured.

Character is the safest foundation upon which a business can be built.

Character is the thing we have left after the creditors take everything else.

Character is the stamp of divinity that God puts on a man.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Sept. 17, 1933.

A man's character may never be known. His reputation is his value on the market.

Taylor County News, Abilene, Texas, Sept. 23, 1892.

Character is something you make yourself. In making a reputation you have a lot of volunteer help.

Nashville Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 11, 1924.

The man who attempts to mortgage a good reputation soon finds that he has none left to mortgage.

Pocatello Tribune, Pocatello, Idaho, March 14, 1920.

A man’s reputation is a blend of what his friends, enemies and relatives say behind his back.

Keesler News, quoted in Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 6, 1949.

Some men try to live up to their reputations; some live on them, while still others try to live them down.

Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, March 20, 1923.

Reputation and character aren't the same. A bad reputation is just the odor you notice when a character is rotten.

Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, Sept. 22, 1929.

Character is the substance; reputation is the shadow.

Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, Nov. 20, 1918.

Often a man's character would be unable to recognize his reputation if they were to meet.

Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, Jan. 6, 1920.


Submit a Comment

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    6 years ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks for these quotes. Voted useful and linking to my hub, "Rahab: She Could Change Her Role But Not Her Reputation." I like the very first one.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    "...Prayer is not a matter of word, gesture or posture; it must come from the heart." I agree with you. Every beat of the heart is a prayer to the Father when we are devoted to Him because with it we are praising and thanking Him. Great article!


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