I found the most beautiful, truthful response to this question on meanderedwanderings.wordpress.com ‘s blog post. I can’t say it any better, so I am redirecting you to his blog. Here is an excerpt:
“We have all seen it. We have seen a person fall from grace;… I do think allowance should be made, call it grace or civility, for reputations to change. A person may start life in a haphazard or foolish way. They may make mistakes and thus gain a poor reputation. But what if that person turns it around? …What if that person is transformed by the gospel of Christ? What reputation should we hold them to? Which reputation would you want to be held to?
The woman at the well (in John 4) had a reputation… But then she encountered this Jewish man from a little town called Nazareth… Oh, he knew of her reputation. He knew of her character as well. He knew all those secret things, whether good or bad, that she hid in her heart and mind. He knew her completely, perfectly. And he came to that well that day just for her. He came that day to tell her the good news (the gospel) that she could be transformed, changed, redeemed… she could have a new reputation. But even more, a new soul, a new hope…”