"As a Christian how do you stand up for yourself when someone is trying to ruin your reputation?"
A woman in our church once found herself offended. She vented to her husband, “I am so mad at them. I guess I better make them a cake!” This is probably not the first thing I would have thought if I had been mistreated!
As Christians, one of the greatest challenges we face is Jesus’ command to love our enemies. He said, "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matt 5:43 & 44)
This, of course, is not our first or natural response. It goes against our nature to love those who are hurting us.
Paul said to the Romans, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18) As Christians, it is difficult when people come against us and sometimes more difficult when we need to react to their behavior or correct them. Romans chapter 12 verses 9-21 gives us instruction on how we are to behave.
As contrary to our nature as it might seem, the best solution is to show an over-the-top display of the love of Christ. Therefore; "IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD."
What God would want us to do is be an example of forgiveness and love in spite of the mistreatment we are receiving. Just as Christ forgave us, we are to forgive our neighbors.
Now of course, we cannot find this in our own ability. So, we must confess our lack of love, our anger, and our desire for vengeance as sin and ask Jesus for His love, forgiveness and grace to be placed in our heart. By faith, out of obedience, we exchange our nature for His nature.
This has an interesting effect. When we behave this way it confuses our adversaries and makes them feel bad for the evil they have done. This puts us in a place to receive them back into friendship. On the other hand, if we respond with vengeance, they feel justified in the things they have done.
Whenever I find myself in this place, I find it helpful to meditate on Romans chapter 12. As Christians, we are called to show a different character than the world shows. Someone once said, “If we take care of our character, God will take care of our reputation.”