I always try to maintain a clear conscience.
Renowned basketball coach John Wooden told his athletes, “Your reputation is what you’re perceived to be by others, but your character is what you really are. You’re the only one that knows your character. You can fool others, but you can’t fool yourself.”
There’s a lot of truth in that—but sometimes we do fool ourselves.
The apostle Paul said, “I have always lived before God in all good conscience” (Acts 23:1). Before he was a Christian, he was a terrorist—with a clear conscience. He also said, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent” (1 Cor 4:4).
Character is shaped more by conscience than by reputation. But character will be compromised unless guided by an accurately-educated conscience.
Coach Wooden was undoubtedly right in saying, “your character is what you really are.”
Character isn’t measured by what a
person says, but by what they are.