Month: September 2016

Character

One of my former high school football teammates jokingly said during our playing days, “We don’t have a morale problem, we have a moral problem.” Now a successful head coach, he must have remembered something of his own observation. His teams perform  with respect for the game and for opponents, regardless of the outcome. Our high school  trophy case is full of the evidence.

Character is demonstrated daily in my work environment of dedicated healthcare staff, but sadly, not on the national stage often enough. It does no good here to rehearse all the examples of failure of character, but only to recognize them. It is good to see the many who ignore the example of those in the spotlight to provide their own local examples. My little group of close friends growing up represents products of service to others. We are: a church pastor, a high school principal, a retired deputy sheriff and a hospital chaplain.

Until a few years ago, it had not occurred to me the unlikelihood of how we would turn out. A casual glimpse of us on a given Friday night would have predicted lackluster adults with not much to contribute to our communities. We did not always show a lot of promise. Yet, with a lot of discipline (from those who saw more in us ), examples (from those same people) and opportunities (again, from those adults who insisted we do better) we did some things worthwhile. What’s more, we’re not done. Even when we retire, we will still no doubt be active in our circles.

The point of this is, our faults were confronted to become incidents rather than life directions. We needed to recognize what character looks like and thankfully we did. We are also thankful for and to those who mirrored for us what we needed to see. What we are is not as much of our own making as it is of the character we saw in our predecessors. This all happened without one major network being involved.

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Solutions Not Found in Government

We cannot change the fact that we are human. As humans, though we strive to be the best we can be (as the old Army slogan goes), we still fall far short of perfection. So, we attempt to construct outward rules, regulations and policies to attempt to make us better. We want government to do it for us. Most of the time, government makes things worse.

If anything can make us better, it has to our recognition of an all-powerful God and our level of knowing and imitating him. Government keeps piling on laws, but we are no better. We even try to make stronger laws dealing with the motivation behind the crime, using labels such as “hate crimes” as if such will deter hate. If hate is involved in assault or murder, how does that make assault or murder worse? In addition, someone has to make the decision as to whether the particular emotion called hate was involved in the crime.

It is nothing short of lunacy to put into place a category of evil that somehow hopes to curb deep-seated beliefs. To be sure, many will not turn to God and his teachings to create better people, but those who do will be motivated by the opposite of evil; they will be motivated by love and respect toward others. Evil cannot be legislated out of existence. Love cannot be legislated into existence. We need to be honest about ourselves and the futility of thinking that our most serious flaws can be solved by elected officials who are also human, subject to the same problems we all have. Government has limited responsibilities, and making us better is not among them.