1314) Character Building

 Building character (from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson):

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Image result for building character images

Image result for building character images

Image result for building character images

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     It is only in the heat of pain and suffering, both mental and physical, that real human character is forged.  One does not develop courage without facing danger, patience without trials, wisdom without heart-and brain-racking puzzles, endurance without suffering, or temperance and honesty without temptations.  These are the very things we treasure most about people.  Ask yourself if you would be willing to be devoid of all these virtues.  If your answer is no, then don’t scorn the means of obtaining them.  The gold of human character is dug from torturous mines, but its dung and dirt are quite easily come by.  And it should come as no surprise to us that in our time— the time of the great flight from pain— such virtues as these are conspicuous only by their absence.

     I’m not saying that we should go looking for pain, so that we can develop character.  This is not at all necessary.  All we need to do is make an honest and thorough effort to discover what is right and wrong, good and bad, and, when we are convinced on these points, then simply go out and face life for what it is worth.  There will be plenty of opportunity to develop character.  But you will never develop character by running from unpleasant situations, any more than you will develop your intellectual capacities by running away from study, or tone up your muscles by avoiding exercise.

–By Dallas Willard (1935-2013), in Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks, edited by Gary Black, Jr., 2016

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Psalm 119:67  —  Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Romans 5:3b-5  —   We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Job 36:15  —  But those who suffer, God delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.

II Corinthians 4:17  —   For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

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Help me, O Lord, to make a true use of all disappointments and calamities in this life, in such a way that they may unite my heart more closely with you.  Cause them to separate my affections from worldly things and inspire my soul with more vigor in the pursuit of true happiness.  Amen.

 –Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of John and Charles Wesley and 17 other children

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