“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1).
As already mentioned several times, man is made in the image and glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:7). Women are not. Animals are not. Plants are not. Planets are not. Stars are not. Man is! Therefore every male of the human race is “in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
We must be concerned about our reputation, that is, our testimony. We are men. We are to be the reflection of God to the women and children. Women desire us (Genesis 3:16) and children glory in us (Proverbs 17:6b). We must seize this opportunity of influence and live impeccable testimonies before them “for none liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7). We all affect others.
Our reputation should be one of wisdom. We are told in Proverbs 4:7, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
A man can be well-educated and not have wisdom. I recently heard of a doctor, who, while vacationing in Florida with his wife and children, threw his 4-year-old boy, his 8-year-old boy, then himself off a 15-story balcony. All three died. His reasoning was that his wife was estranged from him. They were heading for divorce. This particular doctor had an education, but no wisdom. His actions “send forth a stinking savour”. Everything good he ever did was destroyed by one act of folly.
A famous evangelist gets caught with a prostitute. A public official is arrested while walking drunk down the street. A pastor runs off with a woman in the church. A treasurer steals funds from his company. A man cheats on his wife. A school teacher gets arrested for drunk driving. A man is caught with child pornography on his computer. A wife finds her husband looking at ungodly movies. A “priest” molests boys. A man loses his temper and starts swearing or fighting. A married man is caught with a minor. A father is selling drugs or gambling away his earnings. A father possesses dirty magazines. His family suffers, he is embarrassed but keeps up this deceitful life.
I have heard stories like these and more about men. You have also. They rob banks and companies. They run up credit card debts and file bankruptcy. They make their wives buy them liquor, beer, and cigarettes in secret. They can be monsters at home and mild at church. They poison the reputation of good people in front of their children by gossip and slander. They despise government and those in authority over them and tell you so! They have secret perversions only their wives know about. They commit insurance fraud.
Every time a man does these things, something dies in a woman or a child. One more “image of God” is shattered at their feet. He sends forth a stinking savour.
A man can make one comment about a woman’s anatomy or just look at her with wanton eyes and destroy his reputation with her forever. An evangelist I was visiting with once made a comment about a woman’s physical features. What he said was true, and he didn’t mean it to be off-color. He thought he was sincerely complementing her. However, because of her beauty, this woman had been used by men all of her life and it was the last thing she needed to hear from a minister. She has not yet come back to our church, though I have tried repeatedly to undo the damage. His words were a “stinking savour” to her.
Men, we are to treat “The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” (1 Timothy 5:2)!
Solomon said, “Wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness”. We need to forsake folly and live. May our lives be a beautiful smell in the nostrils of God, women, and children.
If you have damaged your reputation by folly, start over today! Be a man of wisdom and honor. Reputations can be repaired, maybe not fully, but at least partially. If needed, get to work on the repairs today.