I’m going to mention a few names and I want you to think of the first thing that comes to your mind with each: Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan, John Edwards, Kenneth Lay, Britney Spears, Andrew Bynum, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Tressel.
Each person behind the name won fame in sports, business, politics, or music because of some extraordinary talents and achievements, yet it’s likely the first thing that came to mind is the last worst thing they did, something that not merely blemishes their names but seems to signify who they are.
An old proverb tells us, “A good name shines forever.” And the Bible says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” There was a time when men would kill each other in duels attempting to protect their honor. And our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence with this statement: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
Though there is much less talk about honor and preserving one’s good name today, reputations are more vulnerable than ever, and revelations of dishonorable conduct are always damaging and often devastating to careers and personal lives.
Because it’s so much more difficult to protect one’s name today, there is almost no place to hide acts reflecting bad judgment or bad character. Though we may judge ourselves by our best traits and most noble acts, we will be judged by our last worst act.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.