Character Does Matter

Posted on November 16, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Rankin Connecting

Character, morals, integrity, values–does anyone know what these are anymore? You would think those in high profile public positions would especially be conscientious about life-style decisions and behavior. Can people really separate their private life from their public image and accountability?

It has been beyond disappointing to see allegations of sexual harassment leveled at presidential candidate, Herman Cain, and to find a formerly respected football coach indicted for pedophilia. Equally disturbing is the tendency for many to dismiss such incidents as past mistakes and poor judgment without recognizing they are the fruit of inherently flawed character.

Society has been in a moral slide for a long time. Once any standard of ethics and moral values are rejected–such as the teachings of God’s Word–concepts of right and wrong become relative. Lacking any basis of absolute truth and morality, post-modern humanistic thinking easily justifies whatever one chooses for the sake of their own pleasure and self-aggrandizement. One of the most amazing powers of the human mind is its ability to rationalize sinful behavior.

Hollywood lost its moral moorings from the beginning. Unprincipled people have always existed to defraud, rob, harm and exploit others requiring costly police forces and justice systems to try to keep crime in check. But one would like to believe leaders and those given public trust would be beyond blatant, self-serving immoral decisions and actions. There may be something in our nature that tempts one to cheat on their income taxes or envision acquiring wealth without work through gambling and shady business schemes, but those entrusted with leadership should be expected to have gained mastery over such baser inclinations.

Business and financial leaders have brought our economy to its knees by forfeiting integrity and being driven by gain at any cost. It is sickening that pastors and church leaders are not exempt; those who should be exemplary and represent a spiritual stronghold and guiding light for others are guilty of having affairs, broken marriages and financial abuse. Congressmen, governors and even presidents seem to reach a point of arrogance from a sense of empowerment that they assume an exemption from moral law.

Certainly we should be hesitant to throw stones, knowing our own fallibility and failures have simply not been such to put us in the spotlight of public scrutiny. We need to humbly be reminded that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” But should we not be due more from those who presume to lead our churches, institutions, and government? Should leaders be held to a higher standard? Perhaps they simply reflect where we are as a society. If so, then our prospects for a just and prosperous future are dismal, indeed.

How can we be a nation blessed by God, a people walking in righteousness, a society committed to truth unless we have leaders with character and convictions? Civic leaders, pastors, teachers, coaches and government officials will make mistakes and occasional flawed decisions in their private lives and public responsibility. But we have a right to expect they will be committed to core values, uncompromising character, high moral standards and absolute integrity.

2 Comments on “Character Does Matter”

  1. Tommy Smith

    Dr. J.,
    The situation in the U.S. is sadly true. Our young people desperately need positive role models in their every day lives to make an impact. Praying the Church will provide those.
    Seems you and Mrs. Bobbye are enjoying retirement and staying busy with the work of the Kingdom.
    (from Jackson, now serving in Peru)

  2. Julie


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