Summary: The benefits of having a good name give us good reasons to be people of integrity

Jim was a very meticulous neighbor. He was always concerned about not upsetting the people who lived around him. So, the night he let the dog out and forgot to get him back in for a couple of hours wasn’t the norm. That was bad, in his mind, but what was worse was that as his dog came in, he had the neighbors’ cat in his mouth, dead! So, Jim laid into his dog, "Bad dog! BAD DOG!" Now, what would he do? He couldn’t bring himself to just level with his neighbor and tell him what happened. Instead, he decided he’d clean it up and leave it on the neighbors’ porch. He took the cat into the bathroom and washed off the blood and dirt. It took forever. He had to wash it 4x to get it all cleaned. Then he blow dried the white fur and brushed it. It was dark out, so he snuck across the street into the neighbors’ yard. He laid the dead cat down on the porch, in front of the door, and snuck back home. Would it work? Only time would tell.

The next morning, both neighbors were out getting their newspapers. Jim was trying to act casual while trying to see if his neighbor suspected anything. “Hi,” he said. Jim said, “Hi,” nervously. His neighbor said, "Something weird happened last night." Jim started sweating. He said, “Oh, really? What’s that?”

“Well, yesterday, our cat died. We buried him in the backyard – had a funeral with the kids and everything - and this morning he was lying on my front porch!”

You want a good name. You want a name that isn’t always mispronounced. You want one that people won’t make fun of. You want a name that isn’t Adolph or Jezebel or Saddam. The point is, you want a good name. When we talk about having a good name, or losing a good name, we’re really talking about the impressions that people associate with that name – your reputation. You do want a good name, don’t you?

Before you say, “I don’t really care what people think of me,” let’s take some time to consider the value of having a good name. It’s something the Bible says is worth some effort. There are ton of reasons to care about having a good name:

(The Value of a Good Name)

(1. Having Something of Real Value)

When you have a good name, you have something of real value.

People are constantly appraising things they have to see if they might be sitting on a fortune. That’s what Antique Road Show is all about, isn’t it? Someone comes on there hoping to learn that the crystal piggy bank that used to be great Grandma’s is actually worth enough to pay for their kids’ college. We would like to learn that there’s something we own that’s really worth something. I want to tell you this morning that if you have a good name, you already have something that’s very valuable.

Quote - Life is for one generation. A good name is forever. Japanese proverb

Quote - Shakespeare, "Othello" - "Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed."

The reason that’s so true is because a good name has real value. We can be sure of that because that’s what God tells us about it.

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Ecclesiastes 7:1

A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.

Right away, let’s conclude this – having a good name is worth some effort, and worth preserving. Here’s another value to having a good name:

2. Guidance

Proverbs 11:3

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

How does a person’s integrity “guide” him?

When you have a good name, when it matters to you, you have a backup warning system to help you stay away from bad choices. If losing your good name is part of the cost of doing something, you have a reason to rethink it. Add that to the list of questions you ask yourself: “How will this affect my good name?” “How will being seen in this place, being around this wrong crowd, wearing this, drinking this, smoking this, saying this – how will it affect my good name?” And suddenly it your good name can be a guide to help you make good choices.

I think there’s a similar meaning in

Proverbs 13:6

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