Judging character is a very complicated matter and when things are complicated we like to simplify them. How therefore do we simplify judging character?
Some like to paraphrase Jesus saying that, “We shouldn’t judge people.” While there may be truth in the fact that we should not finalise judgment on people as really only God can do that effectively, we are responsible for areas of our lives that require us to have discernment about our relationships, employees, colleagues, business partners, our children’s friends, etc. Until we live in a world where evil does not exist, we are required to judge character. We actually sub-consciously automatically do it.
Others like to simplify the issue by saying, “It’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do!” There is also truth in the idea that deeds speak louder than words. But we live in a world where “good deeds” have become ploys for religious proselytization, political propaganda, as well outward shows of good will which are often used as smokescreen to hide the real person behind it all. Religious and political leaders often fool their target audiences with such stratagems.
My wife and I are teachers. We also lead a religious congregation. This requires us to often do character judging. My wife and I were talking about it one time. We were watching the news, hearing about all these good religious and political people who on the outside do the right thing as well as pronounce the right statements, but whose general attitude and persona reveal a totally different individual from the one presented by the deeds and words. My wife then uttered her sporadic occasional great wisdom and said, “It’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are!”
That was brilliant!
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