Making Character Matter Again
Making character matter again is my resolution for both this and the coming years. And toward that end, I’ve recently published Essentials for the Journey. It’s a book about embracing and living the “Ten Commandments” of Character. These proven principles for emotional, psychological, and spiritual health are the topic of several blog articles. (See, for example: Nurturing Good Character: The “10 Commandments”.) I first previewed them in my book Character Disturbance. But I expand upon them greatly in the new book, which I hope will prove to be my best work.
Character disturbance and dysfunction is, and long has been, the defining issue of our times. All our relational and social problems can be traced to it. And if those problems have taught us anything it’s how much character matters. It always has, and always will.
We used to more widely recognize the importance of character. Accordingly, we universally devoted considerable time, energy, and attention to fostering it. But slowly, incrementally, we let its importance escape our concern. And we’ve been paying a dear price for that. Marriages don’t last, relationships are rife with abuse and exploitation, etc.. In fact, it’s hard to know when and whom to trust anymore! The list goes on and on.
How We Turn Things Around
How do we turn things around? In a nutshell: one converted heart at a time. What do I mean by that? I mean that each of us has to understand at a deep level what personal integrity is all about. Only then we can adequately judge it, whether it be in ourselves or others. Folks of solid character are better equipped to ascertain the integrity of others. They’re also more likely to expect and demand integrity in their relationships. More importantly, they’re also more likely to positively influence others.
I have confidence that things will soon turn around. We will again demand character of ourselves and of each other. Integrity will come to be as expected as all the dysfunction we’ve experienced for years. And it’s toward that end that I’ve written Essentials for the Journey.
In Sheep’s Clothing first debuted as a small, independent publication. But it took off like wildfire. And that’s because it described a very common phenomenon poorly understood at the time. In fact, we didn’t even have a commonly accepted name for the phenomenon. These days, we call it the gaslighting effect. It’s that crazy-making feeling a slick manipulator induces in you when you assert what your gut tells you about them and their behavior. I described this phenomenon vividly in the opening pages of the book. And the message resonated with so many that they spread the word like wildfire. That’s how the book became an international bestseller. But more importantly, lives changed because of it. And it’s my sincerest wish that Essentials for the Journey accomplishes the same thing.
Let’s all resolve to make character matter again. That’s the message I’ll be giving for some time in weekly posts. And it’s my New Years message on the latest Character Matters Podcast.