Definition and basic qualities

Character is the possession of a good reputation. Its basic qualities may be identified as follows: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Dick Innes, founder of ACTS International, adds another one of personal honesty (From his newsletter, Weekend Encounter 2706, July 6, 2006). So a person is recognized as having character when he/she demonstrates over the course of time these basic qualities in his/her personal public and private life.

What makes character especially GOOD?

Character is not just a single virtue, but a combination of virtues that provide a person with an unusual amount of moral strength that enables him/her to behave in Good ways time and time again over many years. It is a personal reputation that was not acquired in a moment of glorious virtue when he/she did some selfless deed for someone else. It has been tested by the person’s own adversities and temptations. Heroes can be revealed and honored from momentary acts of braveness in the face of personal dangers. Persons of character can only be recognized after years of observation. Character has the quality of endurance over time.

Of course, character cannot be bought. Even the attempt to buy it destroys the possibility of one’s being recognized for it. But a wealthy person may possess it if he/she is able to resist time and time again the temptation to use his/her wealth in wrong ways. Character is priceless.

When a person has a reputation as being a person of character, he/she is strengthen in his/her efforts to be trustworthy, to be responsible, to be fair, to be caring, to be a GOOD citizen, and to be honest. In order to preserve the respect of others and to protect this priceless possession from corruption, a person of character will be very careful to protect it by not choosing to do anything that might tarnish it. Character is a resource of great personal moral strength.

If you are a person with character, you have a very valuable gift to share with others. A person of character must be a model for others. A person of character must be a teacher to the young, especially to those who are close to him/her. It is not easy to teach character, to teach others the qualities that establish character in one’s personality, because it can’t be done with an attitude of pride. But it can be done in an attitude of patient humility. As a person of character sees his/her “student” growing in the qualities that build character, he/she is encouraged and reinforced in his/her dedication to preserve it and to spread its blessings. Character is a valuable treasure that can best be shared “coin” by “coin” and day by day with others.

My appeal

Seek to be a person of character. It seems so popular and easy these days to be recognized as a “character”, a person who is somewhat different than others, who is an interesting person to be around, at least for a while. But don’t try to be a “character” that’s too easy. Find someone you admire as being a person of character and learn from him/her in daily conversation. Read and meditate upon his/her books. Read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament to learn about Jesus, the most perfect person of character to ever walk this planet.

If you have this reputation as a person of character, thank God for the gifts that he has given to you to provide you with this blessing. Seek his guidance and direction every day that you may use these qualities wisely and effectively in your personal and public life. Pray for those individuals that you are particularly seeking to teach. Ask God every day to strengthen these qualities of character in your life and to keep them from being contaminated by the world.

If you would like more insights into this virtue, as well as other good blessings from God, I invite you to check this website: ACTS International, the website of Dick Innes. May God bless you with this special virtue that you may be a great blessing to others.