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Seeking Wisdom, Day 22 – Soul-Searching

March 9, 2016

Packaged with that sweet newborn baby are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of traits known as character traits. Some will remain dormant, others will flourish, accompanying the child into the adult. As we age, we can regard the mystery of who and what we are. We are the “characters” in our own drama. Are you the bread or the knife? The goblet or the wine? The dew or the grass? Part human, part divine? What are we? It’s time for some soul-searching.

We have chosen our character and made our reputation. Aristotle said, “Excellence of character is a state concerned with choice.” Our personality, temperament, disposition, and nature determine our character and make our reputation. Perhaps we can look at the choices we have made.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree. Reputation is its shadow. The shadow is what we think, but the tree is the real thing.” Character is the driver of our reputation.

Solomon has much to say about character and reputation. Proverbs 22: 2 begins, “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” If you want a good reputation, and certainly your parents hoped you would, that desire will guide the choices making your character.

Some philosophers believe character is shaped by forces beyond our control; by our environment, our situations, our upbringing, the values we hold, our self-control. Others believe our personal stability, our feeling toward the upsets in life, determine character. Christians believe a moral foundation is necessary for a good character. The fruits of the Holy Spirit shape character, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, love and courage. Solomon says (Proverbs 22: 9),  “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor” and “”Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king (Solomon himself) as a friend (2:11). Solomon advises his sons, “Don’t befriend angry people or hot-tempered people or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.”(Proverbs 22:24)

God sees us as we are, not as we want to be, but he forgives our imperfections. The Good Father urges us to be better children, and gives us Grace to build our characters. He directs his children on the right path and knows they will not depart from it. We may call this act of investigating our character ——— soul-searching.

 

 

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