Question:

Are there verses whicj address the issue of what we look like in other people eyes? How it's important to be respectable? Something like Ttius 2:6-8, but I'm looking for more verses like this. I'm trying to teach someone why it is needful to have good conduct even if what we are doing is OK and we are not doing anything wrong, but we still need to represent what is right.

Answer:

"Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you" (Titus 2:6-8).

Maintaining a good reputation is important to the Christian life because we are the book people read before they become interested in reading the Book. The passage that first comes to my mind is Paul's concern about the gift being sent to Jerusalem. I can't think of someone I would more trust to seeing money delivered to Jerusalem than the apostle Paul; yet, he urges Corinth to select their own man to carry the money. "And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind" (II Corinthians 8:18-19). Why did he want someone else to carry the money? Because it would look better to people in the world. "Avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us -- providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" (II Corinthians 8:20-21).

Therein lies a basic principle, when we can we minimize the opportunities others might have to accuse us of wrong. That point is echoed several times.

  • Young widows were encouraged to remarry to preserve their reputation. "Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully" (I Timothy 5:14).
  • Slaves were to be respectful to their masters so that God is not accused of teaching rebelliousness. "Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed" (I Timothy 6:1). "Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:9-10).

Christians are to maintain good conduct to prove that God's way works. People are likely to continue bad-mouthing the way of truth, but we shouldn't give them ammunition. "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation" (I Peter 2:11-12). Even in small things, such as arguments. "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:14-15). Christians need to be mindful that they are always on display. "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed" (I Peter 3:14-16).

"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men" (Romans 12:17).

We seem to have lost sight of the concept of personal honor. "Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified" (II Corinthians 13:7). It is not something that develops because of pride, but from a desire not hinder the gospel by our own weaknesses.

"Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably" (Hebrew 13:18).