In times gone past in my grandfather’s era, a man’s word was his bond. Integrity was an honored virtue above all else. Honesty with one’s self, spouse, associates and with God was the single most defining characteristic of any person.
Life’s circumstances did not change a person’s character but magnified it in the face of celebration and disappointment. A good person that receives an abundance of financial blessings becomes even more so using his resources for good and not for selfish or aggrandizing purposes. On the flip side, when adversity hits a good person, they typically have a positive attitude understanding and learning from the experience rather than condemning God and everyone else for their misfortune.
We seem to have gone downhill as a society in our valuing of character. Many politicians would have us focus on the supposed results rather than the character of the individual. They claim that their personal life is no one’s business. Quite to the contrary, the way they act in private is far more telling of a person’s true character than how they act in public. That character is the foundation and basis for how they will make important decisions and how they will communicate with everyone. One of my former employers, Ross Perot, stated that he would fire anyone found engaged in adultery. His sound logic went as follows, “If your wife can’t trust you, how can I?”
In business there is a common unfortunate theme that “business is business” and anything goes. They somehow reason that if someone gets hurt in business then it is their own fault for not being savvy and aware. Years ago I had a good Christian business man with whom I was engaged on a project tell me, “Disregard what you may see me do or hear me say in business, because business is separate from personal”. I vehemently disagree with this thinking. Your character, honesty and integrity are eternal principles that are with you forever all the time. If a person thinks they can just turn them on or off then they don’t have them in the first place, they are just acting. Hence the term “Sunday Christian”, a different person on Sunday than the rest of the week.
This lack of recognition of the importance of character is a major societal derailment, but also a reflection of an even bigger problem with the denial of true principles. Principles are always true. Programs may change from time to time, but principles are eternal. The progressive liberal movement born out of the 60’s and much earlier attempts to redefine truth with relative morality. This same thinking would deny gravity if it could explain it away. A principle-based person can make correct decisions based on true principles, rather than public opinion or political correctness. Truth is absolute and is not graded on a curve. Refining programs to better accomplish their objectives is a good thing, but attempting to change true principles is futile. The liberal rebellion is justified as an abhorrence to the corruption in society and the power establishment. The best corrections can be made by adhering to the principles of truth rather than denying them.
In a recent incident, the political establishment in power argued that paying a lot of money to a terrorist regime would improve our foreign relations with them and would curtail their detrimental behaviors toward us. If the decision was made based on true principles they would have realized that money does not change character but rather magnifies it. The terrorist nation now has more resources to carry out its mission of eliminating all infidels and enforcing Sharia law. And in reference to our original topic here, the character of the individuals involved has proven to not be trustworthy after many broken promises.
The teaching of true principles starts with our young children in their homes by God-fearing good parents. Even this principle of the family being the basic unit of society and the single best indicator of a successful society has been destroyed by the opposition to truth. This is the most important job a father and mother can ever have. No other success can compensate for failure in the home.
We know we are living in tumultuous times and that the adversaries of truth are in their strongest rage. The greatest nations on earth will only remain so by adhering to true principles and supporting ever-improving programs to fulfill their objectives of liberty and freedom.
It starts with each of us standing up and doing the right thing even if it’s just a little thing. Let’s start taking small steps back to yesteryear when you knew when a man or woman said they would do something, you could count on it. Character is everything.