Guard your Reputation
Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: do doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” —Ecclesiastes 10:1
Flies are small but have a great corrupting influence. The “ointment of the apothecary” is a costly, delicate perfume. Ointment in the Bible is compared to a man’s good name, reputation, or testimony (Eccl. 7:1). The lesson here is how a small act can spoil something that is very valuable. A single act of foolishness can cause a person’s otherwise good reputation to stink.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman learned this the hard way. In an outburst of unrestrained emotion, he soiled not only his game-saving play against the Forty-Niners last Sunday, but also tarnished many good things he has done in his life. His narcissistic rant on national TV only lasted a short 18 seconds, and only time will tell the extent of it’s damage on the career of this gifted young athlete.
Sherman later apologized and confessed, “It was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am.” But, in a moment, a person can undo much good in his life. It may be “just a small part” of who a person is, but “a little leaven leaventh the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9).
I’m somewhat disappointed in Sherman’s adrenaline fueled trash talk, because I know he is better than that. He is honest, humorous, and personable in press conferences leading up to games and after games, win or lose.
He grew up in Compton and rose above his tough environment to graduate second in his high school class with a 4.2 GPA and win a scholarship to Stanford.
Richard Sherman stops by Children’s Hospital unannounced and makes a sick kid’s day. As part of his Blanket Coverage Foundation, Sherman gave select students—and there was an auditorium full—backpacks loaded with supplies to be successful in school. In less than 24 hours after playing in Arizona last October, Sherman was at Foster High School in Tukwila, WA where he gave the entire football team brand new cleats.
One sportswriter commented, “Unfortunately, in this world, between the white lines or beyond them, reputations are hard to repair.”
Each of us need to learn the lesson that in an short unguarded moment, we may say something we will regret long afterwards. We must beware lest our emotions overtake our good manners when we speak. May we all learn to engage our brain, before we put our tongues in gear!
Remember, when you leave this world, you’ll leave with a cheap suit and a reputation.