Character Matters
Monday, May 3, 2010

“Therefore brothers, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.” (Roman 8:12)

                There has been a lot of talk lately about changing the rules.  Rules, according to the political script of late, have been lacking, therefore, the wealthy have been allowed to pillage the lower class of all their money.  Had the former “rule makers” been more studious in their rulemaking, we would not be in the economic mess we are in.  The same is true for many aspects of American life.  Congress is being called upon to make new rules for health care; for treating illegal immigrants, for reforming banks, businesses, and organizations.  In short, it seems the modern fix for a faltering culture is more rules.  But I have a question for you.  If we had hundreds of more rules in the last 5 years concerning how financial institutions operate, and the same people were operating them – do you believe things would have been one bit different.  Of course they would not.  For you see, the economy of America and the world were not impacted by the lack of rules, but by the quality of the character of the people.

                Character matters.  Despite all we have been led to believe in recent years by pundits in the media and politics, character really does matter.  If you think that good rules can be made by tax evading, adulterous, lying, clandestine, and greedy politicians, then sadly, you are part of the problem.  Jesus knew they could not.   If there was an overwhelming theme to the Sermon on the Mount, it was that character matters; that Christians are called to a higher ethic than the world around them.  And this ethic was not an ethic of rigidly following the rules – but the ethic of developing a character that is dictated by a pure heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see the face of God.”  Jesus said, the rules say, don’t murder, but I say, don’t harbor anger in your heart or murder will happen.  The law says, don’t commit adultery, but I say if lust is in your heart, adultery will happen.  The rules dictate how to take oaths, but I say, be of such wonderful character that your yes is yes and your no is no.  The law says don’t divorce, but I say, if you take your marriage lightly, divorce will happen.  The deal is, if your heart is not right, then violations of the rules will take place. 

                What happened in Wall Street had nothing to do with not enough rules.  It had everything to do with the hearts of the people there.  And the hearts of those sitting in Wall Street were developed and conformed by a culture of greed, anything goes, and character is something for Bible thumpers to debate.  And when character is shaped by a society who has rejected God, then there are no amount of rules you can put into place to make the ship sail rightly.

                But the question arises, since we cannot legislate character, what other choice do we have but to make and enforce new rules to identify every loophole for the criminal mind.  Let me tell you, the greedy, the lazy, the immoral, and the corrupt are already busy looking for new loopholes to the rules as old ones are being closed.  That is what they do.  That is their job.  And they will find ways, even in the abundance of rules, to exercise their lives of no character.

                You see, character comes from a desire to please and imitate qualities that endure.  Captain  Sully, America’s latest true hero, is a man of profound courage and character.  But when Sully’s plane hit the flock of geese, he did not refer to the rules manual to save 300 lives.  He used his many years of practicing doing what was right to the point where doing what was right came naturally.  All the pilot’s manuals in the world would not have helped one iota that morning in the cockpit.  But knowing the value of the manuals and living his profession in accordance with the manuals made for miraculous outcomes. 

                If the politicians truly want a change in government and Wall Street, they need not be so concerned about new rules, but in building a nation of people whose character is strong and courageous; a nation whose heart is bent towards it Creator with a profound desire to follow in His Way.  We cannot ignore God’s righteousness and make a righteousness of our own based on the opinions of those in power.  That has been tried since the Garden of Eden, and has failed every time.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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