What do people think of when your name comes up in casual conversation? Solomon said, “A good name is more desired than great wealth” (Proverbs 22:1). Your name or reputation is the opinion other people have about you. Once your image is tarnished, it can be very difficult to restore. It has become increasingly common to hear people talk about reputation-management, especially in business and politics. Maintaining good public perception or performing damage-control are jobs for which effective spin-doctors receive huge salaries.
Christians must wear the name of Christ. Our example must draw people closer to Jesus (1 Peter 2:12). Our light must glorify the Father (Matthew 5:16). Every member of the body of Christ must do his or her part to magnify the name of Christ to a lost and dying world. If our behavior brings reproach on the name of Christ, then we are responsible for the resulting damage. When your name is mentioned alongside the name of Christ or His church, does it seem strangely out of place? The church cannot effectively fulfill its mission when its name is being tainted by the ungodliness of its members.
Having your name “dragged through the mud” is a rather graphic way of expressing what happens when our reputation is tarnished by accusations of wrong-doing. Some have suggested that the expression, “My name is mud!” derives from a disgraced Dr. Samuel Mudd, who treated the broken leg that fugitive John Wilkes Booth sustained during his assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Whether true or not, one can see how easily a name can be associated with a deed. After all, what image is conveyed by the name, Benedict Arnold? Or, Judas Iscariot? Pay close attention, therefore, to your example in all areas of your life. You do not want to be found guilty of dragging the name of Jesus through the mud. While repentance and prayer bring immediate forgiveness to the wayward child of God (1 John 1:9), a ruined reputation is not so easily restored. Since we are to reflect Him, let’s make it our goal to do all we can to honor the name of Christ.