Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

March 12, 2010

Careless Character

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am
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Judy shared with me a phrase she picked up from a news report. In the report about some national leaders, the term ‘careless character’ was used. Rather than call the actions of these leaders wrong, it was simply labeled as an act of carelessness.  

I don’t think any of us can get away with wrongdoing and call it just a slip in our character or that we got careless. Sin and wrongdoing cannot ever be labeled as careless character. Oh, I admit, we often do something that is wrong or contrary to our character, but our failure cannot ever be excused by trying to explain as if it was a moment that we forgot right from wrong. True character knows right from wrong, and true character does not forget, even if we do act at times contrary to our character. 

These are days that call for strict and stern character, not only from our national leaders, but from everyone of us, regardless what we do in life. Perhaps we don’t really understand character. It is far different from our reputation. 

Character is the real person. Character is who you are when no one is around.  Character produces distinctive qualities. It exposes our real nature. It will be demonstrated in our moral and ethical qualities and actions. Abraham Lincoln stated, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.”

Reputation is what others may feel about us, while character is the genuine thing.  Reputation can certainly stain our character. We must be far more concerned about our character than our reputation. The person focused on reputation may sacrifice much of his character. Guided by our character, our reputation will be a true shadow of the tree.  Dwight L. Moody said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”

Character counts today. Who will you trust most? Persons of reputation or persons of true character? Obviously, we cannot always know immediately, but observe the person and you will know the true character, regardless of reputation. Character is revealed by our actions, our conversations, and our habits. I have been exposed to people who seemingly had a good reputation, but then I was disappointed when they revealed their character. Their character was revealed by the joke they told! No matter the ‘good’ reputation they had in the community, the joke reflected their character. I have thought some persons were of good character because of their conduct and lifestyle around me,  but then I learned of their continued social involvement with certain people known for their lack of character. Character will migrate to character! 

Character does not come with birth. Oh, certainly the family environment can aid greatly in the development of character. Character is something that comes through a genuine fellowship with God. As one seeks to live a life according to the model of Jesus Christ, our total being reflects a Godly character. There can never be a learned character to equal the character of God within us. 

This is not to become a test to judge people. Christian people, I assume, can have a questionable character, but that would reveal a fellowship with self and the world more than with the Lord. But let us desire that our personal character gives true evidence of what God is doing in our life  

All this could lead into a discussion of hypocrisy, right? We need to know ourselves and what we reveal through our reputation and character. Hopefully, our Godly character is revealed even in our reputation. 

“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  (Proverbs 23:7)  “If anyone think he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions.”  (Galatians 6:3,4) 






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