I was reading several articles on-line concerning character and character traits. Many interesting ideas, but quite valid and handy, in my opinion. We each have our own beliefs about what are good character traits that we should possess; perhaps even desire. As we grow older we find that we needed many different traits, but failed to realize such and also failed to instill them as good habits. They say, “Youth is wasted on all the wrong people.” I tend to agree with that and believe it even stronger now, while in my youth challenged state. Perhaps, I can learn something new in my elderly status…or, perhaps, I am simply reminding myself that in this respect I must live vicariously through others who happen to be far more youthful than I.
Character traits are those things that make you stand out to a crowd of people. It is what you might deem to be a bright yellow highlighting of you among the rabble of black and white words on a page…helping you become noticeable to others, in order to stand out for memory’s sake. For instance: being on-time for an interview is a character trait a business seeks in it’s new hires; thinking fast on your feet or in less than optimal circumstances is another trait others seek; courtesy and chivalry are other traits that people desire to see in others that they come in contact with; kindness toward others and toward animals;..and the list can go on, etc.
In order to better ourselves, we need to assess our present character traits and decide if they need to be better than they are presently, or if we must replace some traits with other traits. We each go through this at some point in time, thus allowing us to expand our horizons and better ourselves! Not just for our own sake, but for the sake of humanity and the betterment of society. God tugs at our heart from time to time insisting that we better ourselves; unfortunately, in God’s eye, we have a plethora of changes that need to be made!
In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his thirteen virtues. Benjamin Franklin spent one week on each trait, then switched to the next one in the list. Upon completion of each on the list (i.e., 13 traits in 13 weeks,) he would start the list all over again. In one year’s time you can go through the list 4 times. While these are not necessarily the only traits within the context of the bible, but Benjamin Franklin found them to be the best ones for himself. But, in this respect, we each must find such a path for ourselves, because we each handle things differently than others. In fact, some of us may have a longer list of virtues to create as character traits we desire to possess, other might have a shorter list.
Good character traits can be learned, as they are simply good habits of an outward and caring nature toward others. In the blog post of “God’s Ten Commandments versus Jesus’ Two Commandments“, on May 8th, 2017, I had explained about Jesus’ Two Commandments to us, explaining the nature of such commands. Their simplicity is what makes them so great! In essence, we love God by our outward show of love toward Him. Which is done by our actions of honoring His commandments, showing our gratefulness by giving our tithes and offerings, by also treating our fellow neighbors with love and honoring our word that we may give when we strike a deal or bargain. The simplicity of Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:37-40 are as such:
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
We are witnessing, in present day, the demise of character within the millennial community; as well as within society as a whole. The majority of millennials are under the belief that all things should be handed to them, even when they have lost the battle or election. They believe the government owes them something (a job, free education, free healthcare, etc.) They have been taught, indoctrinated really, to believe and understand facts that don’t exist in our history. We are also witnessing the demise of American history, soon to be revised within the history books…a sad chapter in our future history books. Think about this for a bit…Robert E. Lee’s monument is being removed, Jefferson Davis’ monument is being removes, Confederate monuments are being removed, and the Ten Commandments monument was removed by order of the US Supreme Court. This sanitizing of our history, good or bad as it may have been, is a purposeful destruction of what actually happened in our history. This will at some point in time, should I gamble on this, be scrubbed from the history books in favor of a more likeable historical write-up?
The sad truth is this, character is built upon all of the good and the bad, together! We are human and thus we make mistakes. If we are smart, we will learn from those mistakes and use those weaknesses in order to become stronger and wiser. History, good or bad, is there to remind us where we did things right and those things we did wrong. By remembering history, we are reminded never to let such bad things ever happen again. Unfortunately, we as humans are a stupid race and if we are not reminded from time to time of our mistakes…we will repeat them! Sadly, yes we will.
Character is built as you are growing up by watching your parents. As your relationship with your parents wane away your character is developed partially by your peers and your heroes.
Character is something we build up over the years. It is, for the most part, trial and error. But if we are wise, or shall I say if we grow in wisdom, our character traits of our older age will be better than when we were growing up and maturing. There is one place I believe you can truly gain the wiser wisdom to learn from and that is the Bible and the text within that cumulative set of writings. Based upon the wisdom and writings of over 50 authors, written over the span one thousand five hundred years. And if you think about it, our thoughts are not original in the least. Though the technology may change, the basis of most, if not all, thoughts is not original to us. They are synthetic changes on something that has happened in the past.
In order to change the society in which we live, for the better, we must first ourselves possess the character traits and leadership traits to lead other to make all of the necessary changes. Prayers is our starting point…on our knees in reverence to God seeking His will to accomplish His greatest good. We as Christians, must take on the roles to necessary to accomplish what must be done. Such as: Teaching and education positions, leadership and political position, law enforcement and first responder positions, etc. We need to stop cow-towing down to these other people of other faiths, or non-faiths if you will, and stand up for the will of God and to become know as lovers of Jesus.
What will you be known best for by all your fiends? I would like to be known as a person who loves God and a sharer of the faith! What about you??
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD