Test of Character

There seems to be a shortage of good character now days.  Everywhere you look people seem consumed with the idea of getting everything they want no matter what the cost.  There seems to be no respect for anyone or anything, especially among today’s young people.  They way people talk to each other and treat each other is a sad commentary on the current state of our society.
And yet when we meet people who show great character we look up to them and admire them.  Those that stand tall even if the face of adversity and opposition and do what is right no matter the cost.  “A man’s reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is.” People strive to have a good image in life and to have  the nice  things in life, and yet all the while they are lost inside with no sense of direction and purpose.  We see it often when public figures fall from grace.  The most current would be Tiger Woods.  Although I would rather not hear about him constantly on the news, my point remains.  Someone who had the admiration of millions of people whose true self was revealed in scandal.  And he is not the only one.
What is important in our lives is a need for character and integrity.  Character and integrity are who you are when no one is looking.  And your character is always revealed when the pressure is on.  Your true self comes out when life begins to squeeze.  This is where true character is formed as well as revealed. “I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.” Rita Mero
Recently I had an opportunity to grow in character or to resist the opportunity and stay the same.  Character is always formed in the fire so is never easy, and my opportunity was not an easy one either.  In my past I would tend to hide my mistakes unless they were found and then I would try to excuse and minimize them.  Not really a good character trait to have.   In this instance in my life I made a sizable mistake at work.  And one that was costly as well.  And no one would have known, as I work on my own and report in to my office at the end of the day.
So I made a costly mistake and could have followed my regular pattern of covering up and minimizing the mistake.  But I felt God challenge me with the opportunity to grow and change.  And although it definitely wasn’t easy I stepped up to the challenge and confessed my mistake and prepared myself to make it right.  It was a large moment in my personal life.  And a large change for the better.
Our opportunities for growth come on a daily basis.  Everyday we are presented with the challenges and decisions that will limit us or cause us to grow.  We all have people in our lives that we admire.  People like Winston Churchill or Mother Teresa.  Or maybe Mahatma Gandhi or another great individual.   Each one of these people had strong character that was formed in the fires of life.   And each one of us has the same potential in us for growth.  Our choice is will we rise to the challenge or settle for what is comfortable.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

2 thoughts on “Test of Character”

  1. Not easy, eh? But truly the right coarse of action.

    As we ‘break’ each old, bad habit of behavior the darkness that was created around those actions weakens and soon we find that we have really begun to cement decent, ethical, Godly actions into our lives.

    Each time we scale one of those ugly old walls, we take another step towards freedom.

    I am very proud of you, and not the least bit surprised! 🙂

  2. Tom,
    This is an excellent blog. I really like the way that you have been transparent in showing your own struggles. I think it gives the feeling of a friend coaching another friend to be more of what they can be rather than someone who has everything together scolding or pushing. You are letting people in and inviting them to look at themselves for places they need to grow. Great job!!

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