During his days as a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln was approached by a stranger to secure his services. After reading a history of the man's case, Lincoln astonished him by saying, "I cannot serve you, for you are wrong, and the other party is right." The man replied, "That is none of your business, if I hire and pay you for taking my case." "Not my business!" exclaimed Lincoln. "My business is never to defend wrong. I never take a case that is manifestly wrong." "Not for any amount of pay?" said the stranger. "Not for all you are worth," replied Lincoln.
Years ago, William Hersey Davis wrote a comparison between reputation and character:
"The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character.
Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.
Reputation is the photograph; character is the face.
Reputation comes over one from without; character grows from within.
Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; character is what you have when you go away.
Your reputation is learned in an hour; your character does not come to light for a year.
Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime.
Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like an oak.
A single newspaper report gives you your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character.
Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable.
Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what the angels say about you before the throne of God."
We should all remember that we inherit personality, but we build character.