Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Does Character matter? Sure it does!

Does character matter? Take the time to ponder that question, don't let it just slip in one ear and out the other. I mean does virtue and integrity mean anything today? or should the virtues that makeup character be left to the long lost days of the Victorian era?

I think back to the days of Knights-you know the days when men were men and there was a code of conduct that was followed if you were to be recognized as a man of character. The term that was used to describe this kind of conduct was called chivalry. Wikipedia describes chivalry as:

Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of Knighthood. Chivalry arose from an idealized German custom. It was originally conceived of as an aristocratic warrior code — the term derives from the French term for horseman — involving honor, gallantry, and individual training and service to others. Over time its meaning has been refined to emphasize more ideals such as knightly virtues, honor, courtly love, courtesy, and less martial aspects of the tradition.

When we talk about servant leadership, character certainly comes to the top of the list of what  makes a leader a great leader. We know that there are those that can lead through brute power and force; we know that many leaders view character traits as a weakness that will only be exploited by others.

I remember reading in Dietrich Bonhoeffer's biography by Eric Mataxas that Hitler hated Christianity-why? because Christianity taught and promoted such ideals as: forgiveness, love, kindness, turning the other cheek, all of which Hitler viewed as weaknesses. Hitler was certainly a strong and powerful leader, but he ruled through deceit, coercion, and inflicting pain and suffering on those he led.

Getting back to the question does character matter? of course it does! Character will never go out of date like bell bottom jeans, platform shoes, or dying hair blue, green and red. Character stands the test of time, it has grit, it defines who you are, it is really you, the real you .

A man/women without character is really a shell of a person. Without character there is nothing that defines that person--many times I've noticed that those without character will be "whatever you want them to be," they will be all things to all people groups. They are like a bowl of gelatin, no form or shape, just rolling around in the cup of life without any defining character foundation.

For the follower of Christ, he/she does not cultivate character traits just to build character, no, for the Christ follower there is a higher purpose in all he does----all that the believer does is for the glory of God, but the Bible is not silent about character, listen to the Scriptures as they speak concerning our topic at hand: "...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love" 2 Peter 2: 5-7.

Jesus sums up the topic for us in the Sermon on the Mount when he says "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven 5:16."

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