Sunday, April 29, 2012


*Character is much better kept than recovered. Thomas Paine.

 *One can acquire everything in solitude ‑‑ except character.  Stendhal in Fragments, Christianity Today, November 22, 1993.

 *Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before.

*If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders. I hear people saying, "We need angry leaders today!" or "The time has come to practice militant Christianity!" Perhaps, but "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

*What we need today is not anger but anguish, the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people, or that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city. The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart. It's easy to get angry, especially at somebody else's sins; but it's not easy to look at sin, our own included, and weep over it. The Integrity Crisis by Warren W. Wiersbe, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.

*In great matters men show themselves as they wish to be seen, in small matter, as they are. Gamaliel Bradford, quoted in New Dictionary of Thoughts, edited by Tryon Edwards (Ferguson)

*A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world's torrents. Goethe

*When Oscar Wilde arrived for a visit to the U.S. in 1882, he was asked by customs officials if he had anything to declare. He replied: "Only my genius." Fifteen years later, alone and broken in prison, he reflected on his life of waste and excess. "I have been a spendthrift of my genius...I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character." Imprimis, Vol 20, #9.

*A number of years ago the Douglas Aircraft company was competing with Boeing to sell Eastern Airlines its first big jets. War hero Eddie Rickenbacker, the head of Eastern Airlines, reportedly told Donald Douglas that the specifications and claims made by Douglas's company for the DC8 were close to Boeing's on everything except noise suppression. Rickenbacker then gave Douglas one last chance to outpromise Boeing on this feature. After consulting with his engineers, Douglas reported that he didn't feel he could make that promise. Rickenbacker replied, "I know you can't, I just wanted to see if you were still honest." Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991.

*Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. Phillips Brooks.

*Character is not made in crisis‑‑it is only exhibited. Freeman.

*Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are. John Wooden, former coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team, quoted in Sanctity of Life, C. Swindoll, Word, 1990.

*Character is simply long habit continued. Plutarch.
*Only what we have wrought into our character during life can we take with us. Humboldt.

*Henry Wingblade used to say that Christian personality is hidden deep inside us. It is unseen, like the soup carried in a tureen high over a waiter's head. No one knows what's inside‑‑unless the waiter is bumped and he trips! Just so, people don't know what's inside us until we've been bumped. But if Christ is living inside, what spills out is the fruit of the Spirit. Carl Lundquist.

*W. Michael Blumenthal, chairman of Unisys, talks about the mistakes he made in hiring: In choosing people for top positions, you have to try to make sure they have a clear sense of what is right and wrong, a willingness to be truthful, the courage to say what they think and to do what they think is right, even if the politics militate against that. This is the quality that should really be at the top. I was too often impressed by the intelligence and substantive knowledge of an individual and did not always pay enough attention to the question of how honest, courageous and good a person the individual really was. Jerry Flint, in Forbes.

*We do not need more knowledge, we need more character! Calvin Coolidge.

*Character is what you are in the dark. D.L. Moody.

*Character is a byproduct; it is produced in the great manufacture of daily duty. Woodrow Wilson.

*“The gods had given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease...Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the housetop. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace.” Oscar Wilde, quoted by Wm. Barclay, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians.

*The Presidency to this day rests more on the character of the person who inhabits the office than on anything else. The Founding Fathers designed it that way. It was their idea to find a man in America with a great character and let him invest a tradition and shape a national character. They found George Washington. He did his job splendidly. When he took the Presidency, he wrote: "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent." Hugh Sidney, political columnist, in Time.

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