MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011
A Character Challenge
There’s not much that can get me upset and I’m pretty easy going, for the most part. I have the common factor of most females, but aside from the monthly emotional stuff, I’m very passive. Maybe to a fault. I can be too much of a people pleaser and for the sake of keeping peace, I often sacrifice my need for being heard or defending myself. It’s not important to me because I know who I am. I have passions and principles like most, although they may be different. I realize that my passion for living a life fully pleasing to the Lord may not be the same as someone else, but it is what sets my gauge for my principles. I aim to please God, not people. But being a people pleaser, I often miss my target. I have suffered the consequences from worrying too much about what other people think or trying too hard to please someone other than God. People expect way too much anyway, because in general, we are a selfish generation and good character is hard to come by.
Character is made, not born. It is established over time and tested much. We don’t always meet someone and know their character right away. Sometimes it’s obvious, but most of the time we learn their character as we form a relationship with them and base our opinions from our history and experience with them. The longer we know someone, the better our judgement becomes. I’ve been guilty of misjudging people, mostly because I didn’t take the necessary time or effort to listen. I found myself questioning their motive and intentions. I couldn’t trust them. On the other hand, once I made the effort, I found it easier to decipher those who could be trusted and those who couldn’t. But it takes time and once you know that you can trust them, questioning their motive becomes obsolete. Like my husband, for instance. We will inevitably have our disagreements, but because I know him well enough to know his character, I can overlook his human error enough to see the good intentions of his heart. I trust him and he trusts me.
But have you ever been misjudged? Have you ever had your character challenged? It’s not a big deal if it’s challenged by someone that doesn’t know you very well, because you know they just don’t know you. But, there’s nothing worse than having your character challenged by someone who does know you and knows you well. It can feel like you have to prove yourself all over again. Do they not know you? If they did, they wouldn’t question your intentions, right?
Nobody is perfect, I get that. I recognize this in myself and in others and I try to extend a great deal of grace before I assume or accuse. And trusting people is not as easy as it once was, even when they are deserving of it. I’m human and I know I fail, especially if I resort only on my own human effort. Human effort leads to human error every time, but human error leads to recognizing my need for Christ daily. Why? Because Christ is perfect. And oddly enough, in all of His perfection, it was His character that was challenged most unfairly by men. I can vaguely comprehend how Christ must have felt when he was judged so unfairly, yet he did not defend Himself at all. Instead, He kept his eyes on pleasing His Father in Heaven and not men, even unto death. Those who judged Him were those who never really knew Him or His character at all.
There is still an element of challenging God’s character, even today, when we ask “Why would God….?” or “How could He…?” or “Does He even care?”. Instead of knowing His character so well that we trust Him in all circumstances, we question His actions and assume He’s trying to hurt us or that He doesn’t really care. That’s absurd! I’m sure it doesn’t bother God much when people, who don’t really know Him, judge Him..that’s why He can say with compassion, “Father, forgive them…for they know not what they do”. But, how it must hurt Him when those who call Him Father, challenge His character with questions and accusations. Does He really need to prove Himself to us all over again? Do we really think He does not hear us when we call out to Him? Or that He doesn’t have our best interest in mind? Or that He doesn’t care? If we know Him…we don’t ask, because we know the answers.
If we are misjudged by someone, we know we can follow His example and keep our eyes on God and not on man. But if we are misjudging God, maybe it’s because we don’t really know Him. If we know Him, we know we can trust Him and the longer we know Him, the better our judgment becomes and the less we question Him.
If we don’t know Him, He’s patiently waiting to know you and be known by you. (And it’s the greatest relationship you will ever have).
Merry Christmas…May we REALLY know the reason for the season.