Staying in Character

“Who do you say I am?”

When I’m describing someone, age, height, and colour come to mind then I move onto characteristics, nice smile, sense of humour, shy etc. Sometimes when I have had someone described to me I’m misled when I eventually meet the person, they don’t fit the description, forcing me to make up my own mind and understanding about the individual. I have to do a double take and create my own picture or image of the person.

There are many people who have only seen me in my business mode. Their perception is based on some of the characteristics of who they think I am. As this perception is business related they see professional decision making, honesty, decisiveness, punctuality as well as respect for the work that is being undertaken. Whilst at the Tuesday night five a side football they may see an aggressive, get stuck in footballer; then in the pub later a decent bloke willing to share a joke and buy a pint.

The family on the other hand have their own view.

Its getting near my 70th birthday; looking back takes a bit of time because it’s been a journey with much going on, but I ask myself this question. How much has my character been moulded by the life I’ve lived and by being one of God’s men? I don’t believe that character is gained by lying on a beach in the south of France. It is those things that come at us either by choice ie marriage, birth of children; or forced on me such as illness, marriage breakdown, bankruptcy. Ultimately character is about how we handle these situations. In the marriage vows there is a part that says, ‘For better or for worse.’ Because the wedding day is such a perfect day, full of hope for the future we might assume that only good will happen!. But, when we make that vow do we understand or have any perception what ‘worse’ might mean?

Character is moulded by life’s experience and events, and how we handle them.

My grandfather went to war, he was at the Somme, wounded and gassed, having recovered he returned to the front. As a machine gunner he killed many of the enemy, he was bombed and shot at, he recounted how trench warfare was deadly, kill or be killed – he survived fighting on many fronts throughout the years of the war.. He never talked about the war until the night after my grandmother passed away. He and I sat up and he shared the story of his war. It was horrific, no wonder my grandfather locked it away. I do not believe that he was the man he was meant to be, war changed him. He was a very gentle man, father of five girls, a gardener. I wonder what kind of man he would have been.

It seems to me that Jesus never veered from the character of the man he became. He could be relied on, completely moulded in the image of his Father. I hope that my character is moulded by being Gods man and I am becoming the man he wants me to be.