By Ruth Ann Replogle, Columnist
Enid News and Eagle
Who are you when no one’s looking?
While on vacation, I caught a glimpse of the former PAX show “Doc.” During this episode “Busy Man,” a corrupt cop is challenged by his partner. In the end the clean cop stands up for the truth even though it is a hard decision and it means allowing his friend to go to prison.
Billy Ray Cyrus’ Doc narrates that character is who you are when no one else is looking.
Character can be defined as moral courage to do what is right even if no one else is doing it. It is a reflection of who you are and what you do, not what you say or intend to do.
So who are you when no one’s looking? Or at least when you think no one is looking?
In this age of technology, it is hard to stay unnoticed. Someone is always watching. There are cameras everywhere, whether you realize it or not. Stores and streets have security cameras, video is always rolling wherever there are people in action such as sporting events, rallies and concerts, and smartphones are snapping photos in the most unusual places (even in bathrooms and dressing rooms). You could end up in a YouTube video or on the nightly newscast without knowing it.
Not to mention, your peers, co-workers, fellow believers and so on are keeping an eye you. Those who don’t like you are waiting to catch you in a precarious situation, hoping you will slip up. Those who care for you are secretly cheering you on as they watch every step you make.
Pastor Bill Hybels writes in his 1994 Bible study “Character: Who You Are When No One’s Looking” that there are six facets to character — courage, discipline, vision, endurance, compassion, self-sacrifice.
1. Courage — Facing your fears and refusing to compromise your convictions when challenges come. Hybels refers to 2 Timothy 1:7, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power.” He also points to 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, in which Paul says we can be confident thanks to the Spirit within.
2. Discipline — Delaying your instant gratification and desire for easy solutions. Hybels says “you will never build a walk with God, a marriage, a body or a bank account by obeying the world’s law of instant gratification.” Live in the way of the Spirit as determined in Galatians 5:16-26.
3. Vision — Focusing beyond the surface, seeking possible solutions and glimpsing into the future. Hybels says it is important to cultivate vision so you don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by today’s issues. I personally think this is summed up in the Serenity prayer, understanding that you may not be able to control your current situation, but God is.
4. Endurance — Staying the course and realizing adversity develops character, sustains courage, prepares discipline, and turns vision into reality. Throughout the Bible, you see that endurance leads to great reward in the end. Quitters don’t reap those benefits.
5. Compassion — Treating people the way Christ has treated you. This should come naturally to us (even though I know I have struggled with that). We know that He loved us first and has shown immeasurable grace to us. Shouldn’t we reciprocate that? Just look at the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.
6. Self-sacrifice — Giving your time, energy and money without thought to how it deprives you of your plans, your independence or your privacy. Hybels refers to Jesus talking to his disciples in Mark 10:35-45, pointing to the motives. Greatness, Hybels says, is not defined as control over others, but rather sacrificial service to others.
In conclusion, Jesus defied the self-centered culture then and we too should defy today’s selfish culture. We ought to strive to do what’s right according to Scripture, not according to what everyone else says.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord in Isaiah 55:8.
Who are you when no one is looking?
Follow Ruth Ann Replogle on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Hold-On/419800328081972 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.