Many of you may know this, but it has been said that "reputation" is what others think of you and "character" is who you really are. The root of reputation (good or bad) and your character (good or bad) is your personal integrity.
Integrity is defined as "uprightness of character; honesty; state of being complete or undivided." How is your integrity? Is it spotless, solid, and in check, or is it clouded, limited, or questionable?
I'll admit, I have had solid integrity in my life and I've had periods where I compromised my integrity. I wish to never return to that state of heart or mind. No one can take away your integrity except you. You can lose your family, a loved one, your job, house, and all your personal possessions, but no one can take away your integrity, you have to give it away.
You can care too much what others think or worry about making people happy and get a reputation that accompinies this attitude or behavior. You can tell white lies, stab people in the back, steal from work, or be dishonest in your business dealings or personal relaitionships and not only will you get a reputation that is bad, but you will compromise your personal character and integrity.
I know it's easy sometimes for people to gossip, talk, and do things to make people question your reputation and all you can do is keep being honest, patient, and in the end God will be faithful, but when you do things yourself to personally hurt, ruin, or harm your reputation, you have no one to blame.
My advice is to not worry so much about your reputation and work a little harder on your character and integrity. Do not compromise your values, morals, beliefs, or what you know is right and honors God just to fit into a crowd, get your way, impress someone, get a job, make a few quick bucks, or avoid the hard way.
God doesn't care what others think of you as much as He cares who you really are. He cares that your honor Him in all things and you don't base your values, beliefs, or morals on selfish agendas, personal gains, fear of failure, greed, or anything in between.
It takes time to rebuild your reputation, character, and integrity, but it can be done. I know the past couple years I've worked hard to rebuild my character and integrity, because I went through a valley and compromised mine for awhile, but I know God loves me, forgave me, and He's been there all along to help me grow, mature, and learn from my mistakes, and help me rebuild my integrity.
If you are failing today in being a person of honest integrity and character begin making changes today. If you've got a bad reputation then take the steps (it will take time) to change your reputation, but more importantly your character and integrity. Be the same when no one is looking that you are when everyone is looking.
"The Integrity of the honest keeps them on track."
Proverbs 11:3 (The Message)