09 February, 2007

Who needs character anyway?!

The Value of Godly Character

~Character in us and the church
This last week our pastor spoke on building character in ourselves and our church and our children. He mentioned the all-famous-statistics that the percentage of people who get divorced is the same inside the church body and out, which i already had heard. He went on to say that in recent studies lying, cheating, looking at pornography (among other yucky things) is also the same.

Our pastor mentioned that it is a lack of character that causes the church to want to fit in with those around it. We are not called to make the world happy, or to agree with their standards in order to lure them into getting to know Jesus. We are called to holiness, and Godly character. Godly character is not just good character, it is far beyond being called a "good person". Godly character is our goal, and even though it is a goal that we can try to reach, we will never fully attain it in this world.
I guess to some that would mean: "then wherever i am at is okay, since i am not doing that bad, and i sometimes let my circumstances grow and mature me". God does not rate each of us on an A-F grading system, he does not hold up a chart and see where each of us fall...we were all called to do our best, the best with what we have. The best with our own circumstances, the best in the hard times, the best when we have been trampled on. Always the best without all the excuses of why we could do better or we could have done worse. The only person we are allowed to compare ourselves to is Jesus...and we all have a long way to go to get there.

~Building up what really matters in our children
People everywhere admire those who have talent, those who can speak well, write outstanding literature, sing good, jump higher, and make you laugh harder than those of us without that gift. The truth is though that a gift is just that, a gift. It is something we just have. We can obviously perfect that gift with classes and many hours of practice, but it is still a gift, a given, something we can just do a little (or a lot) better than those around us. Having kids, i realize they will have extraordinary giftings, things that i will want to help them perfect, and qualities they have that will be unlike anyone else. That in itself is beautiful, or is it? A gift without the character to sustain it is ugly, truly horrifying. We all like to hear a great comedian that can make you laugh, or hear a singer that really can sing but if they do not have humility, integrity, love others, and give of themselves...they are just that only a gift, with no substance. We are not like to be friends with this arrogant people, we don't like to marry them, we don't like to be around them for any longer than we have to-unless they are using their gift. When they are caught up in their gift, it is a beautiful thing...if not...we all run.
So when people tell me about my own little boys, "oh, i can tell your little boy is intelligent", "he can carry a tune beautifully"or, "he is a great little dancer" i do beam. but it hits me somewhere way deeper than my superficial pride when they say: "he is so gentle with the little kids", "he shared even when he did not want to", or "he was so polite, he said please every time" and so that is when i look my little boy in the eye and say, "mamma is so proud of you, great job!"

the bigger the gift my child has, that much more it is my job to build in him a Godly character that will hold up under the pressure of that gift, and the challenges and choices that he will have to make. this is my job because a person with a gift and not a Godly character may be amazing in a full set of different ways: pride, vanity, lust, and selfishness...and who really in the end cares if a little bratty child has a good sense of humor, can sing ave maria in Latin/French/German, or can jump high enough to dunk. not one person (besides his mother...maybe!) that has to be within one city block of this child.
But because gifts used well and with the power of God are incredible they are so worth the frustration they cause, they can make those with the hardest hearts melt,they can impact you like nothing else in this world, they can help you see things you have never seen, hear the most amazing sounds, they can heal hurt, release pain, bring joy, they speak words into your life of all which is perfect and what you so needed to hear, and they heal your body.
This is why we admire gifts...because they are incredible. but take a step back, do people admire you or your child's gifts, or are they amazed by the quality of your character, and able to be truly impacted when you use your gifts?

1 comment:

Scott & Marisa said...

Hey Bethany,

Very good. Character is always more important than gifts or talents. Even the people that are extremely gifted or talented know this. Who is more insecure than a hollywood star or anyone really who just lives on their giftings and talents? As you point out, and I had never thought of this, we don't really like being around them either, unless they are in their gift or talent.

Scott & Marisa