Posted tagged ‘morality’

Why Character Matters to Me

February 16, 2016

by Dr. Steven J. Callis 

                Whether earned by overwhelming accomplishments or awarded by popular opinion, people rise to the top in their field.  Be it sports, entertainment, politics, academics, or business career, our society has made it a practice to recognize and honor the leaders.

                The standard of judgment is normally based on performance or productivity.  The world rankings for professional golf, for example, are objective, based on a sanctioned calculating system.  On the other hand, a “most valuable player” award is a subjective decision that may include criteria other than statistical data.  Recent presidential debates judged by news reporters and political experts seem to be based on a candidate’s policies, debate strategy, and the ability to maintain composure in the stressful moments of the actual debate.  Naming a debate “winner” is mostly subjective, as well.

                There is one element that is, in many instances, not considered when promoting someone as the best, or as the winner: character.  No matter the ability or skill level, I have difficulty backing someone whose integrity is questionable, or whose character and diplomacy are weak.

                Two decades ago a political giant whose immorality captured the news headlines declared that his personal life had no affect on his ability to be a leader in the political community.  Amazingly, many American citizens seemed to agree with him, so reported the media.  Similarly, there often is a superstar athlete in the news for drug abuse, domestic violence, or other off-the-field improprieties.

                The question is this: does it matter?  Those empowered by their fame say that it does not matter.  As long as they perform to the satisfaction of the public and do what they are paid to do, personal character is of no issue.  Do you agree?

                Well, it does matter to me, for a few reasons.  For one, character and integrity cannot be turned on and off like a light switch when a person transitions from private live to public arena.  If a person has questionable morality in private, it will follow him to the office or field.  The two cannot be separated. The outflow from that is lack of trust from the public fan base that it creates.

                Another great concern for me is that our children are watching, and often emulating these giants of their fields, especially those who often are in the public eye.  I recall one NBA superstar who was reminded that he is a role model for America’s youth, responding that he is not a role model, but an athlete; and if a kid wants him to be a role model, that’s the kid’s problem.  How could he not realize that he has no choice in the matter?  Many children and teens want to be superstars someday, and they will follow the example of others who have successfully reached that dream.

                It may sound crazy to you, but my feelings are so strong that I do not even put such players on my “fantasy” teams.  And a political candidate’s character will be no afterthought for me; rather it will play a large role in my vote at every level of government, especially the presidential race.

                Integrity begins at home.  Persons with integrity tend to gravitate to others with like character.  So it really does begin in you and me.  Character; our nation was founded on it, and it must be a part of her restoration.   


My Source of Hope

July 30, 2015

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

In our challenging English language, some people confuse hope with wishful thinking. For example, “I hope the Braves win a spot in the playoffs.” Because hope is a genuine trust or expectation, the use of the term in that example only expresses a wish.

True hope means that we trust our life, present and future, to an object or person. I like sports, and I root for the Braves, but my life and future do not depend on their making the playoffs. I “hope” they do; I “wish” they would, but I have not staked my life on their success.

Among the list of those who have spoken or written on the significance of hope, Thomas Pettepiece wrote, “When there is no hope, there is no life. Without hope we give up – – we lose our will to fight, to trust, to live.” So, it is appropriate that each of us evaluate the source of our hope today.

The trend of our nation these days is to demand personal rights regardless of how it affects others, and to make such demands on the premise of political correctness. These challenges, some recent and others longstanding, may cause us to wonder if there are any existing values that are off limits to special-interest groups and political agendas. Some citizens would claim that even the Constitution itself is being ignored for the sake of personal and political interests.

Are there no traditions valuable enough to save? Are there no absolutes on which we can depend anymore? Can we survive on the philosophy that something is right or correct only when approved by my own selfish, personal standards?

Pettepiece proposed that we cannot hope in ourselves, our technology, our government, our laws, our tenacity, our courage, or our will, though these things are all necessary to conquer today’s woes and provide justice. Our only hope, he declares, is in God alone.

For those of us who agree with him, our hope has come under serious attack over recent months, even years. As the challenges become more frequent and broader in scope, it could be that we lose sight of the Source of our hope, and then hope wanes, as does our will to fight and trust.

Edward Albert Day once wrote of God, “There is nothing that at any time diminishes His perfections, dilutes His redemptive powers…God is always God.”

Who or what is the source of your hope today? What drives you to awaken each morning and face your day with confidence and purpose? The Psalmist proclaimed, “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” God is always God, and you can trust in Him.