Character versus Reputation

Ideally, character is "the sum of the moral and mental qualities that distinguish an individual, the individuality impressed by nature or habit on man, mental or moral constitution." Character is "the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another, a distinguishing feature or attribute, moral or ethical strength, uprightness, a description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities."

Reputation, on the other hand, is "the general estimation in which a person is held by the public, the common or general estimate of a person with respect to character or other qualities, the honor or credit of a particular person, one's good name in general."

Character versus reputation names the contrast between the soul and the self image. Character is the outgrowth of your accrued inner qualities, the objective truth of reality of your being. Reputation is a worldly assessment, based on the subjective truth of appearances.







Edna Lister on Character versus Reputation

Love builds character. – Edna Lister, Learning to Live at Peace, November 11, 1934.

In erecting a structure, you immediately see the need for building on a solid foundation; it must be solid enough to reach the skies, and to be so, you must clear out the rubbish. Character building is similar: If you build on a poor foundation, with even one faulty brick, the structure must fall. – Edna Lister, Making Plain the Way, December 9, 1934.

Everyone builds a reputation, which is the world's gift, bestowed in the world and by the world. Character is God's gift, God-given. You receive the results of reputation and character, based on your own efforts. – Edna Lister, The Twelfth Degree, June 15, 1935.

We began as unconscious individual manifestations of God, who must become conscious. We can add only consciousness, and we return to God with the consciousness we have accrued, as character. – Edna Lister, The Temple of the Soul, June 19, 1935.

Character is the sum of your past, written indelibly on your face, body and affairs. As a child put it, character is "something good on the inside that shows on the outside." You build character day by day with how you live life. – Edna Lister, Character, January 26, 1936.

Character is the soul, using your faculties and form as its mediums of expression, and is all that you take with you from this life. You develop character as you express the soul virtues. Character must be threefold in expression. First, your character expresses through your form, in the image and likeness of God. Second, your character, to be immortal and lasting, must express through your emotions, impulses and mental processes. Third, character must reveal the secrets of soul to the external world through facial expressions, the language of eyes, handwriting, and your tones of voice. – Edna Lister, Building Character, April 18, 1936.

It profits you not at all to be found exalted in reputation on earth and in such way lose character of soul in heaven. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, August 1, 1938.

To stop using force of any kind is an important point in polishing character. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 2, 1940.

The prefix, en, of ensample, means "in, upon, and giving intensity." The prefix ex, in example, means "out." An ensample signifies expression from within character. An example is an attitude on the outside, which is why people think, "What will they think? What will it get me?" An example is a pose for gain, an attitude assumed to please another. Examples are meant to enhance the veneer of one's reputation. An ensample is what you really are. If you set an example, you are self-conscious, but when you are an ensample, you are soul-conscious. – Edna Lister, Heavenly Manna, July 8, 1940.

No soul always emits the same lights (the aura's radiance and hues), for lights change with each passing emotion. However, definite constant undercurrents of light reveal a soul's basic character. – Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

As a soul inhabiting a creature body, you induct through the five senses unconsciously. When you consciously synthesize the five senses, you can read a person's entire character when you shake hands. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 19, 1951.

The New Testament contains the keys to every possible combination of personality characteristics and every situation that could arise on earth. Law covers every contingency. – Edna Lister, The Bread of Life, August 7, 1955.

Your treasures in heaven are joy, faith, love, expectancy, devotion, compassion, understanding, and all soul qualities, which we call character. Your outer worldly treasures are material things and possessions, reputation, place and position. Reputation is what others think of you from "reading" your outer form (physical appearance), clothes, speech and actions. Your reputation may be true or untrue. – Edna Lister, Your Treasures, January 15, 1956.

Self-expression builds itself a reputation in the outer, but soul-expression reveals character, which you feel in another. – Edna Lister, I Ascend, April 8, 1956.

Though the challenge you face may seem more than you can bear, you will find that if you live each day to the best of your ability, then analyze today's best and know it isn't good enough for tomorrow, you will ascend, step by step, until you have conquered the very challenge you thought you could not meet. The fear and dread of it you once felt has past. Looking back, you see that it was not the giant you had imagined it to be. This is growth of character and spirit. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 1958.

The twelve Labors of Hercules, on a mythological level, dealt with the unseen world for the strengthening of character, overcoming challenges, proving oneself an adult and assuming the responsibilities of adulthood. – Edna Lister, Undated Papers, June 1958.

Character is what you develop of the soul virtues and express in one lifetime. – Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself, June 14, 1960.

Character and reputation are distinctly different: Reputation is that which a person builds by doing a certain thing because it is the politic thing to do to gain approval and to please the masses. People build reputation from the others' opinions and prejudices in seeking to present themselves favorably to the world. Character is the direct expression of the qualities, attributes and unfoldment of the soul; it is invisible, yet its cumulative results show. All outer expression is the result of your past living and it shows in your physical form.

Character is the result of how you live by honor and integrity, and how you apply law. Reputation uses Power, but the Power uses character. Character is the soul's expression, while reputation is the self's expression. You always operate under the rule of a just appraisal, and must apply the law of a just appraisal. Since both reputation and character have written themselves on your outer form, the only visible element about you, physical appearance is available to give you a key to the inner. You must have some idea of what the visible form tells you. Everyone has a reputation he has earned by pleasing the boss, co-workers, friends and other people. Sadly, your reputation may bury your character. – Edna Lister, Character Analysis: How to Make a Just Appraisal, May 14, 1968.

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New Testament on Character versus Reputation

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. – John 2:23-25.

Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. – John 10:24-30.

We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope. – Romans 5:3-4.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men – Philippians 2:5-7.

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Old Testament on Character versus Reputation

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. – Proverbs 22:1.

The Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature [reputation]; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart [character]. – 1 Samuel 16:7.

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Etymology of character: Middle English carecter, "distinctive mark, imprint on the soul," from Latin character, from Greek kharakter, from kharassein, "to inscribe."

Etymology of reputation: Latin reputatio, "a reckoning," from reputatus, "to reckon, think over."


Character and reputation are abstract principles, rooted in the Love Emanation.

Character and reputation are laws of being.

Character and reputation are laws of doing.


Quotes

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. – Helen Keller, Journal

Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. ... We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. – Martin Luther King, Jr., The Purpose of Education

Perhaps a man's character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. – Abraham Lincoln, as quoted by Brooks, in Scribner's Monthly, August 1879, 586


References

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).


Related Topic

See Labors of Herakles


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