Thursday, September 11, 2008
Some people are characters, and others have character. Character is the evaluation of an individual's moral qualities. Character includes qualities like honesty, integrity, loyalty and courage. It has been said that character is who you are when no one is looking. In other words, we might be honest in front of people, but dishonest behind their back.
As I deal with people in the church, it is interesting to see how some people can be trusted, while others cannot. Some people can be counted on and stay true to their word, but others go back on their word like it is nothing.
As a minister, character is not just part of my life, it is an important part of my job. I am called to be an example in who I am for others. I am called to be honest, and loyal, and trustworthy, and above reproach.
But as I say this, shouldn't this be true of everyone? Shouldn't everyone be expected to have good moral character? Why do we expect some people to have more character than others?
Life is full of experiences that not only test our character, but actually develop it. We see this expressed in Romans 5:3-5, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Character is born through our life experiences. As we face suffering in our life, we learn perseverance and fortitude; we learn how to push through the difficulties and not give up. This persevering spirit gives us character, because it gives us a strength that could not be developed by life being easy. We learn the importance of being disciplined and committed and trustworthy, so that we can make things happen. We learn that being trusted by others is a valued quality, because we probably have had people come into our lives during the time of struggle who we trusted, and helped to get us through.
If you were to evaluate your character, how would you do? Are you trustworthy? Honest? Loyal? Responsible? Loving? If not, where do you need to improve? It's not about knocking yourself down, it's about evaluating so that you can improve your character, because none of us is where we need to be. But there is probably little that is more important than having good character.