A Profound and Quick Way to Build Character (HINT: It Doesn"t Involve Reading About Historic People)
When I truly reflect by the end of the day on my attitudes and behaviors, I often find less-than-honorable features of my character.
Am I really doing a good job of building character? A Helpful Passage The experience of my internal conflict is the reason why the book of Romans recently spoke to me.
You may already know Romans 5:2-5 ("...
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Until reading this recently, I had never even thought about suffering as a route to character! However, as I thought more about this, I found the Word so profoundly true! For illustration, let me share an example from American history.
Abraham Lincoln is thought of as a man of great character - I know of no one who would argue otherwise.
While there were many great qualities of this early US president (i.
, amazing public speaker, prolific reader and writer, etc.
), one of his greatest qualities was how he responded to times of great trial and suffering.
In fact, one could argue that his great narrative to free the South from slavery is only a summary of hundreds of smaller moments of great suffering.
For example, it is well-known that his own top generals would periodically betray his own military orders, prolonging war at times! After reflecting on this deeper meaning of this verse, I am now finding dozens of opportunities to build my character through my own "suffering".
These moments can be as small as not complaining about not sleeping well over night or losing patience with my kids.
They can be as big as betrayal by a coworker or a loved one.
Suffering as an Opportunity While we cannot typically control the behaviors and attitudes of others, we CAN control our RESPONSE to the situation.
We can quite literally choose to respond with great character.
Or we can find ourselves trapped in recycled sin.
I am grateful to God for opening my eyes to this "absolute truth".
I encourage you to think about this in your own life, as well.
It may help you build your own character.
You may even tolerate or welcome some "suffering" as an opportunity to build and demonstrate your great character in ways you could never even have thought were possible.