In a recent sermon, I referred to the following statement made by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
If you want to know what a world that fails to evaluate others through the lens of character, just look around.
I am fully convinced that the failure to expect our leaders to hold the highest levels of moral and ethical character reveals that we have lost our way.
In an effort to gain power and control, many have forsaken the litmus test of character and integrity.
The rise of leaders who lack integrity and character has been evenly paced with the rise of lies, misinformation, conspiracy theories and disunity. And, because the office of leadership is generally one that can be trusted, many buy into the lies. The ability to identify truth, through the crafty deception of intentional misinformation, is lacking in this type of environment.
As followers in the way of Jesus, we are to judge one another through the lens of fruit. Are we producing good or bad fruit? Our fruit is part of our character and integrity.
We may recall that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). This should be our litmus test. If these things are lacking, there’s a good chance character will also be absent.
Of course, no one is perfect. Therefore, we begin to justify character flaws in ourselves and others.
Around election time, we hear, “We’re not electing America’s pastor.” Honestly, if someone’s lack of character or integrity would disqualify him/her from leadership in a local church, I’m not sure we should attempt to justify his/her leadership in any elected office.
The amount of things we are willing to overlook and excuse in order to get our candidate elected is alarming.
Again, no one is perfect. But, character still matters.
A refusal to accept truth is dangerous. A refusal to accept reality is dangerous. A refusal to humbly admit that we are wrong is dangerous. A refusal to tell the truth is dangerous.
And, it all stems from a lack of character and integrity.
Yes, character matters.