We live in a society where our lives are under the microscope than any other time in history. In banks, in shopping malls and on street corners our images are captured on surveillance cameras. Social network companies like Facebook (which owns properties like Messenger, What’s App and Instagram) collects data on each of it’s 2 billion users where it brings advertisers to the platform. Predictions are made on pages we have liked, status updates, career focus, and even how we interact with other accounts and a pretty accurate picture is painted of us. Amazing, yet scary that all this information about us is somewhere “out there”. Our lives have become so transparent. More than ever it is important to keep our lives and reputations squeaky clean.You can actually check your Facebook ad profile here.
Sometimes our social media accounts do get hacked, and it is very unnerving for those who have experienced this. But even worse is have our identity stolen. Particularly when it comes to our personal financial data. There is a thriving black market for this. Idan Aharoni, head of fraud intelligence at RSA, a security firm writes in the June 2011 issue of Consumer Reports of black market sample prices of bits of data on us that has been compromised somehow or somewhere. Our Social Security Number will fetch $3, our mother’s maiden name for $6. The data strip on a premium level credit card will fetch $60 and name and password for an on-line back account will command upwards of $1,000. It is so important to protect our name.
There was no social media during Bible times, and identity theft probably was not a problem because there was no credit cards or on-line banking back then. Yet the Bible is still so relevant when it talks about keeping a good name. When my kids were born, my wife and I were very diligent for them to start off their lives with a good name. We did not want their names to be mispronounced or made fun of. We have taught our kids respect and manners with lots of prayers for their futures. And eventually their names have become a representation of who they are.
Our names are extremely valuable. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold”. When we used to have cable sometimes I would watch the Antique Roadshow. Such fascination. There would be the scenario of someone coming 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. If you have a good name, you already have something that’s very valuable. Much more desirable than great riches.
A good name is worth some effort, and worth preserving. More than any time in history, our names (our integrity and reputation) are so transparent and vulnerable. And it is so important to protect them. 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?” It takes years to build up a good reputation, but only seconds to destroy it.
The word integrity comes from an old word that means “wholeness or perfect condition.” It is untarnished and unblemished. It is being truthful and honest and honoring one’s word. And others will remember that. If you have a good name, it tends to protect you when you’re not there to protect yourself – because you create good expectations about yourself. There is an anonymous quote that says “Live in such a way, that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it”. Now THAT is the value of a good name!