The qualities of the traits that define us become the driving force of our attitude toward life. Randall Burkhalter
The saying “character counts” reminds us that actions and words of individuals are good indications of what lies inside them. Our character defines us. It is the framework, foundation, brick and mortar of who and what we are. We can usually “put our best foot forward” when we need to. On occasion we can fool others and appear to be something different than we are. Eventually our true nature surfaces and those around us see our true character. The bad, ugly and undesirable will eventually surface and becomes visible.
We know the character traits of our friends and love ones rather well. We can sound off their good qualities and strengths as well as their weaknesses and shortcomings. Most of us are a pretty good at judging character when it comes to evaluating those around us. There are those we can count on, that are honest and trustworthy, those with integrity and those of good character. These are the people we feel good about. There are also those we know to have questionable character. We keep them at arm’s length. One of our biggest concerns and fears as parents is that our children become people of good character as they get older.
“Character counts” means what we see in the words, actions, and behaviors of others tell what kind of person they really are. The same applies to us. If we are naïve or unsure of the true nature of our character; we can really start watching and observing our words, actions and behavior. If it was not already clear to us, we will soon be able to piece together the kind of person we are. Such things as lying, stealing and cheating are major red flags and sirens; we have problems. As we get deeper, our commitment to honesty, integrity, breaking rules and obeying laws are an indication of our character. Envy, jealousy, gossip, back stabbing and slandering are additional serious character issues. Keeping promises and commitments; doing what we say we will do, having principles and standards all come together and are all indications of how much character we do or do not have.
We know our issues, weaknesses, and problem areas and are accountable for the character flaws that we allow to tarnish or corrupt us. It is up to us to do what it takes to polish and clean up the quality of our character.
Challenge: When you look into the mirror you will see what you look like. You can peer even deeper through the surface and into your soul. It is good to do this and have an honest self-appraisal and truth session as to any character flaws that corrupt you. The fact that you are aware of them is a good indication that you are capable of doing something about them. The question is are you ready to do some character cleaning and polishing?
Wisdom: Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. John Wooden
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17
The path of righteousness is like the first gleam of dawn shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Prov 4:18
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Ps 32:8
Having character and living righteously are closely related. If we are living righteously; we will have character. It always gets down to what we can do in our own strength and how far we can go versus what we are capable of when we have God guiding us. Our human condition and our capabilities are very limited when we are not connected to God. Just like we need food, water and air to exist, we need God to flourish and to be at our best.
Prayer: Help me to have the strength and commitment to clean and polish away my character flaws.