FIRE, WATER, AND REPUTATION.
Once upon a time three friends went on a long journey together. Their names were Fire, Water, and Reputation.
"My friends," said Fire to his companions, "we have far to go on our journey, and there are many hazards along the way. What should we do if we lose each other?"
"You are wise to think of that," answered Water. "We should agree on a way to find each other if we become separated."
The three friends grew silent for a few moments. Then Fire spoke. "If you should lose me," he said, "simply look up to the sky. Where you see smoke, you will find me."
"If you lose me," suggested Water, "simply look down at the ground. Where you find low, marshy ground, you will find me."
Fire and Water then looked to Reputation for his answer. But his face was sad. "If you lose me," Reputation said, "do not bother looking. For when you lose me, it will be almost impossible to find me again!"
Those words are true. A good reputation is a valuable thing; once it is lost, it is hard (and sometimes impossible) to get it back again. Many people have been ruined or disgraced by dishonesty. Many reputations have been shattered because of one dishonest word or act.
That's one of the reasons why honesty is in your best interests. That's one reason why "honesty is the best policy"-because it's one of the ways God tries to protect you from harm and provide good things for you. Honesty establishes a good reputation; dishonesty can prevent-or ruin-a good reputation.
"Choose a good reputation over great riches," wise King Solomon said, "for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold" (Proverbs 22:1). In other words, don't risk losing a good reputation because of a dishonest word or act you may never get it back again.
REFLECT: A reputation is what other people think about you. For example, they may think you're honest, or they may think you're dishonest. Which reputation would you rather have? What kind of a reputation do you think you have right now? How can you build (or protect) a good reputation? How can being honest help your reputation?
PRAY: "Heavenly Father, help me to earn a good reputation by being honest in what I say and do."