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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

01 Jul '11

Reputation management

Everyone who leads, whether full time, or in volunteer settings accumulates wounds from that leadership. Sadly, the most painful wounds are not from those outside the Kingdom but from those inside. The deepest wounds for many of us are attacks on our character. I once had the joy, years ago of listening to six pages of accusations against my character read in public. Nothing is more painful. One cannot lead without being attacked and the most painful attacks are to what matters the most to us - our reputations.

When our character is attacked, what we want to do at the least is to respond and defend what is so precious to us. Or, even to strike back in righteous anger. Both are human reactions but neither are helpful. Those who attack our character will not be moved, and in the end only God can vindicate our actions and character. 

David, agonized over those who attacked his character. He also gave us great advice when evil men speak ill of us - and attacks on our character are often the work of either "evil men" or those who the evil one is using to discourage and hurt us, whether believers or not. David tells us when attacked:


"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him"
"Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret"
"Wait for the Lord and keep his way"
Psalm 37


Time and God have a way of sorting out our character in the minds of others. We play not to the crowd but to an audience of One. His opinion is the one that matters, not the opinions of our detractors. The best thing we can do when attacked is to refuse to fight back, give our pain to God, guard our own hearts, attitudes and words and focus on being the people God wants us to be.

This is neither easy nor natural. In fact, responding in grace to personal attacks can only be done when we are staying close to God, have His perspective and are walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the end, we cannot manage our reputation, that is God's responsibility. What we can do is live in a way that pleases him rather than worrying about what others think.