Attitude, Fruit of the Spirit, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Patience

My Reputation Precedes Itself

Before you read this post I have to give you a disclaimer: The job I work is a God given talent and I love every minute of it! I have worked in public education almost eight years and I was out of the classroom for two of those years. I have always been known for the authority that I have in the classroom and my “don’t take any mess” attitude. This summer I was assigned back to the classroom. All I could think about was how I was going to show those students that “my reputation precedes itself.” Keep in mind that this group of students had also had a reputation of being some of the most disrespectful and disruptive students in the building.

Ladies, I went in ready for battle the first day of summer school. I went into the class frowning and if a student breathed too hard I had to let them know who was the boss. All I could think was, “I’m not going to let these little kids run over me.” Instead of getting to know them personally, I did something that I had never done as a teacher. I took what I had heard about them and formed an opinion. Someone once taught me that you can catch more bees with honey but I refused to be nice to the kids because I was going to show them I wasn’t playing! I didn’t even care about winning them over; all I was concerned with was teaching them and ensuring that they listened. Every day I went home drained because I was trying to show them who was the boss. I was too busy trying to keep my reputation in tact that I didn’t even get to know who they were.

God started to convict me and I didn’t understand why. I was led to Acts 9 where Saul, a person that was a murderer of Christians, was converted to Apostle Paul. Even though the Lord chose him, at first his reputation preceded him. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” (Acts 9: 10-14 NKJV). This made me question myself. Who did I think I was to treat people how I wanted to treat them based on what I had heard about them? If the Lord could give Paul a chance after he was a murderer, why couldn’t I give these children a chance despite what I had heard. Furthermore, who did I think I was to think that my reputation was more important than doing what was right and pleasing to God?

Luke 6: 31 says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (NIV) As God spoke to me, He told me that I should have gone into that room and treated those students how I wanted to be treated. He also reminded me of my past. What if He had really let my reputation precede me? What if He had not started fresh and forgiven me for my sins? Where would I have ended up? Ladies, it scared me to even think about how it would have been if the Lord treated me how I treated those students based on my reputation. All I could say was, “Thank You Lord for Your saving and forgiving grace!”

I had to apologize for my actions to those students and start fresh on the first day of the new school year. Instead of treating them based on their reputation, I thought about Paul and how God created him new and he became one of the most profound writers in the Bible of all times. The first day of school was a new beginning for me and the students and it was wonderful! 1 Corinthians 4:1 says “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” (NIV) I realized I don’t want any reputation unless it’s as a servant of God. I don’t want to be known as anything but a woman after God’s own heart. “Lord, let THAT reputation precede itself!”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You God for keeping me and protecting me when I have strayed away from Your will for my own reputation. I thank You for forgiving me when I thought I had to portray a certain image and it wasn’t mirroring You. I thank You that I am learning that if the reputation that I have is one that is not in Your will or pleasing to You, then I don’t need it. Thank You for teaching me to treat people how I want to be treated and not based on their reputation. Thank You Daddy for not letting my reputation determine Your will for my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to not worry about what your reputation used to be. Today and everyday take a look at your life and see if you are living up to what God wants you to be. I EMPOWER you to not treat others badly or in ways that are not pleasing to God because of who they used to be. Since we all are works in progress,  I EMPOWER you to read your Bible, pray and ask God to give you a reputation that is pleasing to Him!

Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations and Proverbs 29:18 –  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

16 thoughts on “My Reputation Precedes Itself”

  1. Sheka all I can say is THANK YOU!! I too am guilty of both trying to uphold a reputation and treating other people based on their past (and sometimes present). I often remind myself that I too am not perfect and that there are things in my past that I wouldn’t want people to judge me on. I am glad that he showed you the err of your ways because he can and will use you to turn those students life around just like he uses us as an example to strangers, friends and family.

    1. Chancee you are welcome! I am glad that God has showed us that the only reputation we should be worried about is the one we have with Him. Thanks, my goal is to change these inner city kid’s lives and let them know that it is more to life than their block or neighborhood! Keep praying for me girl!

  2. Great word Sheka! Like many I have a past that I would hate for people to judge me on so who am I to do just that… thanks for helping me check myself! Be Blessed!!!

    1. Thanks Tasha. Girl I was speaking to myself as well and I also had to check myself. We all have a story and a past and I am glad that God is not letting our reputation from our past determine where He takes us in our future!

  3. Sistah girlfriend….I am guilty as charged. This is one of the reasons that I dont like for people to talk to me about other people. If they tell me something negative, I form an opinion of a person whose name I barely know. Great example with Saul/Paul…I will mentally carry this illustration with me.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks Krissy! Girl I am guilty as well and I didn’t realize that I was doing it until I was convicted for doing it this summer. I am guilty as charged when it comes to someone saying something about someone and I form an opinion about them. I am glad God gave me this word because I have no time where I am going to be worried about reputations unless it is a reputation that I am striving to be like Christ!

  4. This is awesome! Most of the time we judge people by what we’ve heard instead of getting to personally know them. I know when I was younger my family judged me by the many lies “someone” in my family told about me & I was treated accordingly. This was great!

    1. I am sorry you went through that but I am sure it made you stronger. Regardless of what people thought of you it is evident that God thought more of you!

  5. Thank you so much for the wake up call, so many times we forget how to treat people, this just lets me know that I am a work in progress, and to God be the glory.

    1. You are welcome Jeanette! I am also a work in progress and we all need a wake up call sometimes so I am glad that it helped you!

  6. Sheka, I am soooo happy that the start of the new school year turned out swell for you as well as your students. I hope that it continues rephrase that I know that it will continue. Thanks for this post.

  7. I giggled at the beginning because this was so me!! When I taught High School, I was hired just to straighten up the Freshmen, and that I did, and their parents too (sometimes.) But one day, God checked me and led me to Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.” While I was a no nonsense kind of teacher, God had to show me what mercy meant, when I needed it one day. This was an awesome post, and I applaud you for correcting yourself when God spoke, that’s usually the hardest part.

  8. Amen Sheka,i hope and pray I’m doing the same,because i do not want my past on my future path,God has brought me a long,long way and i have to show that to the world,it’s my duty :0).You are doing wonderful work honey!!!!!!!!

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