Honest self-reckoning has great power. In fact, it has the power to change everything. The truth is inherently liberating. And as the timeless adage asserts, it can truly set you free. But the truth is more than liberating. It’s also empowering. Truth, in its essence, is both power and freedom.
In Character Disturbance, I first outlined the 10 Commandments of Character. They’re essential life lessons that must be mastered and embraced to become a wholesome character. And I’ve been busily refining my thoughts on them for my upcoming book Provisions for the Journey. Character development is, after all, a journey – and one to which we’re all called. And the proverbial First Step has to involve honest self-reckoning. We have to admit the truth of matters if we’re to adequately address them. And we have be willing to humbly and faithfully reckon with what we know are our shortcomings if we’re ever to overcome them.
Big Changes Start Small – And with Us
Sometimes it seems the world is a mess. Discord is everywhere. Relationships routinely fall apart. Some say things have always been this way – it’s simply the human condition. But others say things have gotten worse. Regardless, we know things need to change. But how do we make that happen?
We know what won’t solve our character problems. We’ve tried legislating the solution. And we actually have millions of laws on the books. We’ve tried punishing our way to behavioral health, too. And we have a higher percentage of our population incarcerated or restrained in some way than any other free society. We’ve tried using the might of powerful weapons and military forces to impose order, too. But has anything really changed for the better in the world? History repeatedly says “NO!” But we keep doing the same things, expecting different results. Crazy, huh?!
There is a clear, proven pathway for change. And it’s the same pathway for each individual as it is for the world as a whole. We’ve tried changing minds. And we’ve tried coercing behavior. But we haven’t done well at changing hearts. And that’s how big changes happen – one heart at a time, beginning with our own.
The Big Lie
We’re all great deceivers. Some among us deceive others purely to abuse and exploit them. (See: In Sheep’s Clothing.) But many more of us deceive ourselves. Why? It’s just easier that way. Progressively making ourselves a better person is hard work. And we’re innately creatures of economy. Accordingly, growing ourselves in character is inherently unattractive. It takes dedication and commitment, too. But it’s that very kind of labor that defines real love.
Disturbed characters hate most kinds of work. And they have a special distaste for what we call labors of love. Some think they’re above it. Others are simply at odds with it, detesting subordination to any higher power. But none of us relishes the work. For one thing, it’s hard to see the value in it. So, we ask, “What’s in it for us?.” Well, for one thing, healing – and not just for ourselves, but for everyone, and the whole world.
Liberty and Power
I have a lot more to say on this topic on this week’s edition of the “new” Character Matters. Follow link link here to access the latest podcast.