A Good Name is Better Than Riches
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Exodus 20:16 In the book of Proverbs, we are told that "A good name is to be more desired than great riches." A good name is such an excellent blessing that the only thing that is of more value is a good conscience. While the eighth commandment provides for the security of a man's property, the ninth commandment provides for the preservation of a man's good reputation. It would be better for a man to be robbed of his riches than to be robbed of his good name. Material things can be replaced.
For the most part, a man's reputation is based on his character. A man's character is known by his conduct and his speech. Christ said "every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit." Having made that observation, the Lord explained that the true character of men will be known by their fruits, that is by their conduct and speech. In spite of the fact that men may be of bad character, some are able to conceal that fact and for awhile enjoy the benefits of a good reputation. Sooner or later there will come a time when their so- called "good reputation" will be betrayed by their conduct or their speech.
Others are of good reputation, not because they have been successful in concealing their bad character traits, but because they are in fact of good character. Their honesty and integrity have been proven time and time again. The ninth commandment forbids the doing or saying of anything that would in anyway jeopardize a man's reputation. What a sad thing it is when a man's good name is ruined because someone deliberately told lies about him. Those who do such a thing take something from a man that can never be fully restored. Once a man's good name has been ruined, it is most difficult to fully restore it. There will always be those who have doubts, who had no doubts before.
God gave the ninth commandment to preserve the good name of men. However, He was willing to send His Son, who in turn was willing to make Himself of no reputation that He might fulfill the Father's will. The Scriptures say of Him, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." This is the One of whom it could be said, "He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." The One who was without sin, knew what it was to be falsely accused. He suffered not only false accusations, He also suffered the agonies of the cross that He might redeem guilty sinners.
The Reformed Reader Home Page
Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved