Building Character

“Because I gave him my word” was the answer to the question I had just asked.  The question was, “How does he know you will pay him?” It was an interesting conversation, and one that I’ve remembered for almost 50 years.

Even though the word “reputation”was not used, it was the subject of the discussion.  Pop finished the conversation with this statement:  “A man is only as good as his word.”

I posted a comment about reputation to my Facebook page yesterday:  People wouldn’t have to spend so many minutes protecting their reputation, if they would pause for 60 seconds to guard their character.

You can read the character-focused Scripture I’ve provided below in less than 60 seconds:

  • Proverbs 22:1:  “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:1:  “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”
  • Hebrews 11:1-2:  “Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old.”

It was Helen Keller who said:  “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

The quote above reminds me of Romans 5:1-5:

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.  Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Do you see the cause and effect links in the verses above?  “Suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.”  



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I’m not sure that Paul would agree with Calvin’s dad, but you may have the opportunity to build some character with snow in the forecast for this weekend.

The Blabbermouth Blues

bmouthGod, in His wisdom, gave us two ears and one mouth. By design, I believe we are to hear twice as much as we say, and we would probably get in twice as much trouble if we had two mouths and one ear.

To overcome the Blabbermouth Blues, James instructs us to speed up and to slow down: “Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness (James :19).”

How do you develop the “slow to speak” skill? A good regimen to practice is a three question set. Before you speak, ask yourself:
• Is what I’m about to say the truth the whole and nothing but the truth?
• Is what I’m about to say kind, or is it degrading?
• Is what I’m about to say necessary and beneficial to the person to whom I’m speaking?

The wisdom literature of the Bible speaks about your manner of speech:
• Psalm 19:13-14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
• Proverbs 16:24: Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
• Proverbs 29:20: Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Solomon draws a contrast in Ecclesiastes 10:11-13, and it show a cause and effect relationship concerning your speech: “A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; the babbler is no different. The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; the words of his mouth begin with foolishness, and the end of his talk is raving madness.”

Here’s a little rhyme to think of the next time you are afflicted with a case of the Blabbermouth Blues:

Be careful of the words that you daily speak,
For you shall give account at the Judgment Seat.
Be careful of the things you say and do,
Or you’ll find your foot in your mouth,
And not in your shoe.