Character: some thoughts

I've been mulling over a proposed definition of character today.

Part 1
The popular definition in my church circles is that character is determined by your behavior when no one is watching. It sounds pretty good.
Part 2
I watched a debate with Christopher Hitchens yesterday in which he complained about the cosmic despot who holds us guilty for every thought that wafts through our minds.
Part 3
Jesus says the fantasy of adultery is just as wicked as the act itself. Matthew 5:27-30
Part 4
Fantasy is what one does in one's own mind where none other, but one, God, can see.
Part 5
Everyone fantasizes of good and evil. Hence, who has character?
Part 6
Hitchens misses Jesus' point. Our thoughts affect our souls and usually affect our actions. Even the moribund, those trapped by physical paralysis, are sinners in need of a savior. Jesus calls for a radical response, by hyperbole, to wicked thoughts, amputation, Matthew 5:29-30.
Part 7
Is there a difference between the character who acts out and the character who doesn't? Yes. One character has self-control, which is a highly desirable ability, and is commended by God.
Part 8
Where does self-control falter? Encounters with the appetites of the flesh; Sex. Gluttony. Addictions. Physical pleasures above or outside of what God has deemed sufficient. What is the solution to these weaknesses? Perspective.

Mark 8:34-38 Then Jesus called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life? What can a person give in exchange for his life? For if anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Part 9
A goal for long term gain can restrain the impulses of short term pleasure with long term negative consequences. Perspective probably contributes much to character, who we are when only God sees.


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