What Is The Difference Between Reputation and Character?
Posted on: May 3, 2013, by : Brandon Gilliland

I made a graphic to share the other day about the difference between reputation and character.

reputation vs character

What’s the Difference Between Reputation and Character?


According to the dictionary, we get the following definitions:


Reputation: overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general

Character:  the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual


If you take a look at the definitions above, you will notice that reputation is simply what others think of you. It is a formulated opinion. It is important for others to think highly of you, but your life should not be based on it. Character, in contrast to reputation, is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Character is who someone is! 

As Christ followers, we should desire to possess character that models Christ. We all will mess up at times, but our life should be characterized by following God. I found this quote that directly correlates with this post:


“Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

-John Wooden


Although my reputation means a lot to me, I would rather possess Godly character over all of it. Even though it is important to set a great example, it is more important what God thinks of you…rather than what others think of you. As Christ followers, we are supposed to set the example. But if the example is artificial and not really a part of your life, that will eventually hurt others.


God calls us to lead others authentically, not artificially.


Obviously, it is important to have both a great reputation and Godly character. As a follower of Jesus Christ, these should line up the same in your life. It doesn’t mean that someone will come along and try to destroy your reputation. People will always try to tear you down.


Our whole purpose on this earth is to bring glory to God and His kingdom. We are to “Amplify God’s Kingdom!“. In order to do this, we must set the example (reputation) and live it out (character).


“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

-2 Corinthians 5:20-21


What are your thoughts on reputation and character? Feel free to share in the comments!

  • Really awesome. I hadn’t really thought about the distinct differences between these before.

    • Do you find that many people value reputation more than actual character?

      • Sadly yes…both inside the church and in the world. We are conditioned to seek others approval without really looking inside and evaluating who we really are. It’s tough work to build Godly character, must easier to “look” holy/good. We can appease our moral conscious by writing checks to missions or buying presents for orphans at Christians instead of allowing God to change our hearts and use us in ways that make us step out of our comfort zones.

  • Good word Brandon. Too many people are worried about their reputation (to some point they should be) rather than focusing on building character and living a CONSISTENT life of authenticity.

  • Robert

    Great post Brandon! Reputation, as we find out from time to time, is what others believe as opposed to how someone actually lives. Both in and out of church, scandals hit the news, and somehow, we are always “shocked” to find out our impressions about someone’s reputation were way off.

    Character, on the other hand, is who we really are deep down inside. It’s part of our moral compass, and along with our upbringing and faith, help to guide most every decision or action. It rarely wavers. It’s our default. It’s a little harder for people to “see”, but it is who we really are, even when no one is looking.

    • Awesome explanation! I think it’s important to realize that without God placed first, our actions can be very selfish. That can turn into corrupt character.

      When the scandals happen, it’s a gradual decline of morals which leads to a character flop.

      It’s important to remain humble and realize that anyone can fall.

      Both reputation and character are important.

  • Brittney Letchworth

    This is really great ! I Never Thought Of This That Way.