by Rob Campbell
Joel’s blog yesterday spurred in my mind/heart some thoughts about one’s character in relation to community. Joel wrote:
There’s something beautiful about God’s people openly sharing, confessing sins and struggles, applying God’s Word, and asking for prayer. God is pleased when koinonia takes place because He’s a community-oriented God, dwelling in perfect unity with the other members of the Trinity. And He wants us to act like Him.
In light of these statements, a godly connection between character and community would be ideal. Don’t you think?
How do you define character? How do you recognize character? How do you know if you are a man/woman of character? These questions probed my mind today as I reflected upon character. In the various venues of life, there seems to be a large void of character among men/women.
Certainly, our homes, churches, communities and work places are crying out for people of character.
D.L. Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” I like this, but I am still left searching for some handles to grasp the essence of character. Horace Mann adds that “character is what God and the angels know of us; reputation is what men and women think of us.” Character deals with one’s inner core values, convictions, thoughts and purposes. Image (or reputation) is how others perceive you and me.
Let’s dig a little deeper! The American Heritage Dictionary suggests that character is “the combination of qualities, features or attributes that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another; moral or ethical strength; integrity; fortitude.” Karl Day summarizes these before mentioned thoughts by writing, “Character connotes noble, positive, distinguishing or defining standards of moral and ethical behavior. Implicit in the definition are such attributes as industriousness, honor, loyalty, compassion, self-control, integrity, courage, and fortitude.”
Therefore, what does character look like?
Character is keeping appointments, being on time, honoring your commitments.
Character is choosing the harder right instead of the easier wrong.
Character is working through the tough times of a marriage instead of throwing in the proverbial towel.
Character is being committed to the well-being of others even if it is personally costly.
Character is setting a good example- even if it requires playing a difficult and unfamiliar role.
A person of character does not envy another’s success, but rejoices in it.
A person of character recognizes that lust is a second look and shuns even the appearance of evil.
A person of character is self-disciplined and self-controlled.
Character implies the courage to stand for what is right, to oppose what is wrong, and to make the effort to discern the difference.
Remember, character is developed over time. It is forged in the fires of daily living, often in adversity. It is a product of our environment, our experience, our reaction to our circumstances, and our willingness to learn.
A final thought: “People of character fear neither the light nor the dark.”