each week I am taking one of the dimensions of a whole life
(mind, spirit, body, character, identity, capability, love, contribution)
and offering you first steps to build it.
Today we are looking at character.
Our character reveals who we truly are.
Through our words and actions,
we reveal whether we have high moral values and principles.
Are we honest?
Are we trustworthy and loyal?
Are we reliable and responsible?
Do we keep our promises and commitments?
Are we compassionate?
In sum: Are we solid and worthy of respect?
First step to build our character
The first step to build our character
is to answer the above questions honestly.
If we want to become a respected builder or leader
of any worthy pursuit,
our answer to all these questions must become yes.
Our high character will attract others of high character to us.
They will follow our lead because we are solid.
[For further steps to build your character,
please see my previous posts:
Why is character so important?
How can I build a strong character?
How should a man hope he is described after the first date?]
What does being solid mean?
Being solid means we can be counted on.
We can be counted on by those we lead,
and by our family, our friends, loved ones and pets,
our employer, our neighbor—all those who need us.
If we cannot count on ourselves,
NO ONE ELSE will ever be able to count on us.
What keeps our character solid?
To maintain a solid character means
we can’t be tempted, tricked, bribed or otherwise corrupted.
The main way our character is
Corrupted is by accepting lies.
Accepting lies enables us to do things we know are wrong.
So, to maintain a solid character requires first and foremost
that we develop the ability to see through and resist lies.
To work on this, please see my previous post
If I teach a great course – Lying 101 – will you take it?
What lies do we need to see through?
Lies come from within (from our own destructive side)
and lies come from without (from the destructive side of others.)
We need to expose and reject lies coming from both directions.
If we spend much time on social media,
we are well aware that our national sport has become
calling each other a liar.
It makes us feel really honest 🙂
Unfortunately, most of our condemnation
is just knee-jerk hyper-partisan attack.
But to have strong character,
the lies we most need to see through are our own.
So let’s go back to those tough questions
we were asking ourselves earlier,
and ask them again:
Am I true?
How honest am I in my dealings with myself and others?
Do I accept my own lies?
How trustworthy am I to myself and others?
How loyal am I to myself and others?
How compassionate am I with myself and others?
Especially those I disagree with?
facing our own weaknesses of character
is the first step toward building our character stronger.
It is humbling, but necessary, to do this.
Yes, it’s so much easier to be arrogant,
and focus on pointing out all the disappointing character failures
of other people.
But as Jesus challenges us:
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye,
but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:3
Our first responsibility is to face ourselves.