“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” (Coach John Wooden)
“Good character is the best insurance” (Proverbs 11:6 The Message)
Character is a learned behavior. It is best taught at a young age starts at home. My family is not poor (meaning we still have some food on our plate) but a moderate one. Mama always taught us to be honest and do not steal. I did not say that I never once stealing but I repent once I realized I’m doing it.
During school break, I had a part-time job in a supermarket. One evening while going for break, I saw a beautiful orange RM10. Even there were many customer passed by, no one saw that gorgeous orange bill. In an instant a vision comes to my mind; RM3 for Kolo mee, RM2 for Nescafe ice and RM5 for tomorrow lunch.
Back then, I called it ‘instinct’ but now I’m sure that it was the Holy Spirit that prompted me to stop and returns back the money to its owner. [How do I know who’s the owner? It’s a long story] My trustworthiness, my character, was being tested. My reward in that experience revealed to me that I had developed the character traits that would help guide me throughout life. For this I give all credit to God alone.
I’m sure that you had experience a similar situation like this. Either you return it back or not, ‘each action you take when face with moral questions or temptations will help form your habits, which in turn will determine your character.’ (Bob Harrison)
Character must be build day by day, decision by decision, over the years. It starts with a small thing. In Luke 16:10, Jesus said: ‘If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.’ Always be faithful with small things.
People often argue that our personal lives do not matter as long as we perform well on the job or look good in public. In God’s eyes, there is no distinction between our public and private lives. Does our character matter? Yes. I forget who writes this, its in my note; ‘Justice, righteousness, integrity, mercy, honesty, fairness, and faithfulness are the essential traits of godly character because they reflect God’s character.’
What character traits do you need to focus on in order to make your private life consistent with your public life?