How many of us pick up a news paper, see the immense evil, and wonder what in the world is happening? Christians know that sin rots the world. But we also see so many Character Building initiatives out there; self-help books, programs, speakers and curriculum’s. None of which, no matter how much you pay or invest, seem to fix this underlying problem. Tozer addresses the issue; that so many teachers, parents and sadly even churches are simply not doing enough. He says
“You cannot build character. You can take a man dying of cancer and teach him to speak and read Greek and Hebrew and Latin; to sing opera; to enjoy great music and art; but he is still a dying man, and you are not building anything in him. He is a dying man.
You can take a sinner and teach him to be an honest and square shooter, make him into a good citizen. There is no question that you can help a man. Our schools can help the character of our children. We out to stand in silent salute to the teachers that have helped train our young people-who have taught them that it is better to be good than bad. That it is better to be honest than crooked. That it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I think we ought to thank God for the teachers.
But it is only teaching a dying to speak good English, making a cultured man out of a dying man. He and his culture are going to die together. That is what character building is. That is all it is. It is better than nothing, but it is not enough.” 1.
We can try behaviour modification all we want; looking, sounding, walking differently. But if there has not been something more than a change of clothes we are simply a “white washed tomb” – looking all together externally, yet internally stinking of death, and rotting the core. A dead man walking.
What this world needs is not Character Building, but Christ Believing. A person who is brought to the foot of the Cross by a genuine appeal/ pleading of a loved one, with eyes opened by God to see what price had to be paid for them to become a truly changed person, and they believe the forgiveness purchased for them. When they have someone impart the preciousness and invitation of Christ Believing, then and only then might the newspapers have differing headlines.
In our families, our schools, and primarily in our churches, let us not be people who promote character building, instead let us develop Christ Believing as our primary focus for broken humanity.
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the Gospel that you heard” – Colossians 1:21-23
1. Tozer, A.W “A Disruptive Faith”