Man of Character

This week we honored my Dad’s 89th birthday. Unfortunately, he is no longer here to celebrate with us but nonetheless we remember his beginning and most importantly his impact. My Dad, on many levels, was the greatest person I have ever known. While I miss going to him for his wisdom, I try to live my life through his example. One of the aspects of his life that stands out to me is that he appreciated each moment of every day and treated people with dignity. Yes, I know that he had his tough times and struggles just like all of us, but I remember him cherishing the blessings God gave him; he lived his life with integrity, compassion, thankfulness—he lived his live with character.

I look around today and see myself and many others who I come in contact with not doing so…or at least not consistently. As a society we have become so divided that it has led to uncivility. Instead of embracing and growing from our differences we use them as justification for bad, if not dangerous, behavior. While there is nothing inherently wrong with standing strong to your beliefs and I believe that respectful and civil debate is healthy for us individually and collectively I do not see much civility today.

One of the things my Dad taught me was not to say something about someone unless you are willing to say it face-to-face with them. Look at the comments section of just about any on-line news article or a social media thread and you will quickly see that is generally not the case today. Through the anonymity of technology people often think they have the right of rudeness, disrespect, vileness, threats, and hate. I recently read an article about a professional football player who is struggling with some personal issues which affect his on-field performance. This man weighs about 315 pounds and can probably bench-press a Mack Truck. I almost chuckled at many of the comments made about this man thinking “would you say that to his face?” I’m talking about some of the nastiest, most judgmental comments imaginable; my point is that many people feel empowered, even entitled, to behave uncivilly while hidden by the cloak of the Internet.

I try to live by the example of character I learned through my Dad. More importantly, I strive to live by how Scripture tells us to treat others. Specifically, Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” You see, when we are living our lives in the Spirit through Christ, we do not rely on our works on how we treat those with who we interact—our works fail and we revert to our human emotions—our human character.

Early Warning System

With all that is going on I found it interesting this week the debate concerning Wednesday’s test of the Presidential Emergency Alert text message. Sadly, way to often, people’s opinion fell on political lines; if I like this current President this is great (but let’s keep the option to get rid of it if someone is elected who I don’t like); if I don’t like this current President, it is a tool of tyranny (but get back with me when someone is in office who I like).

Many do not realize that the blueprint for this system began after the attacks of 9/11 by President Bush’s Administration, were supported and funded by President Obama’s Administration, and now implemented by President Trump’s Administration. So, if you are looking for a President to blame for wanting to much control of your life, there are three choices.

Or, just suppose for a moment that these three men and the people in their Administrations, obviously with different political viewpoints and approaches to governing agreed that the American people need and deserve an emergency alert system using the best technology available (don’t forget no matter who is in office, you and I are paying for such a system).

Now just imagine, and I know it can be difficult, but suppose that all three men suspected—even imagined—there would come a time when Americans would need some critical information and need it instantly. Even with the spanning years of the three Administrations with different perspectives, varying motivations, suppose they shared a common goal of the welfare and well-being of the people. Even with that assumed, America remains divided.

I believe that is result in the denial of “absolute truth”. Absolute truth is the reality that something is factual even if we do not like it; even if it does not fit into our agenda; even if it is not popular.

We have the ultimate “early warning system” and it is the Bible. This Book written over a span of 1,600 years by 40 men does not contradict itself (despite those who take verses out of context to say it does). This Book was written by men who took the penalty of death for what they taught. This Book has been tried and tested by historians, scientists, and archeologists and every time it stands up as truth to the tests of time and scrutiny.

This Book holds the absolute truth of God—it is our ultimate warning system!

I do not believe we will receive a text message or a TV show interruption when the promise of Revelation 22:12 happens “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

We each must evaluate where we are—do we decide our eternity on our personal preferences, our agendas, our life status, or on absolute truth?