Character Matters, You Can Count on It
Ramon Arias |March 31, 2014
Do as I ask not as I do, is the real problem with the overwhelming majority of our society. When we demand that others do what is right we must first look in the mirror before we do the demanding.
Every generation needs men and women of true moral character and virtue. Why am I using the word “true”? The fact is we can be misguided if we do not have the Holy Spirit’s discernment to help us know how personalities or respected individuals with social positions can be confused for people of true character or virtuous individuals. This is the very reason Jesus said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24).
If Jesus' statement comes to you as a surprise, most likely you have been influenced by those who like to only quote what He said in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The intention in quoting only that part is so they will not be criticized for their immoral behavior or that of others. The tragic part is that people believe this without questioning whether this is really what Jesus meant. I know many honestly believe, including Christians, that Jesus was prohibiting judging others, even though it goes against all logic and common sense. Others utilize it for distraction when their immorality is exposed. Was Jesus really saying not to judge other people’s behavior? In the very next verse Jesus added: “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you,” (v 2). Nowhere is it to be understood that Jesus was prohibiting right judgment, what He was condemning was wrong judgment. He did say people are not to be hypocritical when judging others, that they had to be in right standing so they could single others out and help them remove their shortcomings and expose character flaws.
In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and pronounced his memorable speech stating, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” He was corroborating what Jesus said about not judging by appearances, it is not how people look that should impress anyone or how eloquent they may be in their speech or even great leadership skills or many other qualities that we may think to be good. The color of their skin should definitely not matter or if they are in minority groups. Dr. King said he wanted his children to be judged by the content of their character and that is where our focus should be if we want to judge correctly.
King Solomon was right when he said a person becomes what they think (Proverbs 23:7). It is impossible to hide character because character reveals our thoughts. Men are constantly in a battle to improve things in life and they go to extremes in order to accomplish them, however, if they’re not willing to better themselves and their character the chains of wrong thinking will keep them in bondage.
Every action has a foundational thought. We never do things just because. All bad behavior can be modified and right thinking can destroy bad thoughts. Character is the sum of our thoughts; they constitute the person we are, therefore, if we judge our own character and perfect it then we can apply righteous judgment.
Character must be at the center of our person, family, profession, workplace, churches, and civil government. No individual should get a pass regardless of who they may be or what they do, this includes our politicians and those aspiring to be our employees as elected officials. Society suffers when they throw character out the window.
When it comes to public servants our political inclination should not disregard the importance of having individuals of proved character above party loyalties. The moral character of the nation is the reflection of its citizens. America has character bankruptcy because “We the People” ceased to keep a sharp check on character.
James Abram Garfield (1831-1881), before becoming the 20th president served in Congress for 18 years. In 1881, Charles J. Guiteau twice shot president Garfield who weeks later died of complications from an infection caused by a bullet doctors could not find in his body. His dying words were, “My work is done.” His assassin wanted to be appointed as the United States counsel in Paris without having any qualifications. His antagonistic attitude in persisting on his appointment caused him to be banned from the White House. President Garfield left a warning for future generations regarding ignoring their personal responsibility for the moral health of the nation:
"Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature ... If the next centennial does not find us a great nation...it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces."
James Abram Garfield and Martin Luther King Jr. were both assassinated, both understood the value of character and both preached the Word of God. They are both right in their assessments of judging character and they both paid the ultimate price. They are two strong towers among many throughout history who valued character above all things.
Such is the case of County Commissioner of Carroll County, Maryland, Robin Bartlett Frazier who declared on March 27, 2014 that she was ‘willing to go to jail’ by defying a clueless ruling of a federal judge when it comes to American history and the Constitution when he prohibited prayer at the opening of a board meeting. This courageous lady stated, “If we cease to believe that our rights come from God, we cease to be America… We’ve been told to be careful. But we’re going to be careful all the way to Communism if we don’t start standing up and saying no.”
Commissioner Frazier knows the U.S. Constitution, the Maryland Constitution, American Christian history and above all the Word of God. All of us should know what she knows and stand our ground and join millions of Americans who are beginning to wake up as they realize that character matters before God and men.
Men and women of character never compromise their values that come from God’s character and His revealed Word. God’s true people represent His culture and morality in society the same way Jesus Christ did and His disciples after Him. God’s people do not shrink from confronting a decadent culture regardless of the consequences. They don’t care for the loss of favor, or having to face physical threat, financial loss or any other kind of loss for using right judgment in the flaws of character nor are they afraid to acknowledge and praise good character in others because character does matter!
Never forget, God’s people are never in the minority if we side with Him and His perfect plan for our lives; by doing this we leave a godly legacy for future generations.
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations,” (Psalms 33:11).
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).