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Character Counts

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Proverbs 10:9

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

Most any culture always faces the risk of slipping into a mob mentality, where passions overcome reason, where tribe and party overcome what is true or what is right. Civilization itself is about people operating together with common standards, allowing themselves to be accountable to each other—accountable to those standards. Most of those standards come from what we call “character” and “virtue.” And character and virtue count.

 

In recent years, our culture has started to slip toward a kind of “us and them” mentality, where strongmen and doublespeak replace thoughtful engagement and the testing of ideas to see if they are true or if they measure up to what we know to be right. This is true for the right and left of American politics, and even in the church we can be pulled into being fans of a side rather than aiming for faithfulness to God first. Character counts, and when we decide that character and virtue are dispensable for the sake of “us” vs. “them,” we participate in a self-destructive pattern that takes decades to undo.

 

The good news, however, is that character and virtue count. A nation whose people hold themselves to higher standards will choose leaders who do likewise and bring health and effectiveness to our governance. And more importantly, when you are faithful, when you embody Christian character in your daily life, when you stand for what is true and speak the truth in love, you impact others around you and encourage them to aim higher. When you allow yourself to be accountable to the aspirations of the Christian life, when you walk consistent with God’s calls to you, you embody integrity, and you shore up that integrity in others.

 

Character counts, not just in others, but in you. And you count far more than you might realize. God bless you as you bring his grace and truth and virtue to the world around you.

 

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

 

Yours in Christ,

 

-Tom

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