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    Good Character to Ease the Situation

    July 25, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Everytime I read a book on marriage, I am overwhelmed by gratitude that I married a truly good man. I don’t mean that he’s perfect. He would be the first to tell you that he isn’t. But I know his heart seeks to obey the Lord, and this can cover a multitude of silly imperfections. {To my readers who are not yet married: the character of a man matters!}

    Yesterday, I wrote a bit about forbearance. Being that forbearance is a Christian virtue, its object should not determine its expression. To be more clear, if forbearance is a reflection of Christ, who died for even the worst of sinners, then being married to someone who seems to be the worst of sinners is no excuse from practicing forbearance.

    However, good character helps. A good friend and I were recently discussing this. Our husbands both value providing for their families. We know that we can trust them to work hard, and we love that about our men. We both also realize that this does not mean all will always go well with them. They may experience failures in their lives. But knowing that they have the character we admire, knowing that with all their hearts they want to provide for their families, makes it much easier to forgive and have grace for a failure. Consider the woman married to a lazy, unmotivated man. She, too, is obligated to forgive and extend grace for, say, a sudden job loss. But how much easier is it for the woman married to the man with a good work ethic?

    Now, a woman is not the only one who has to practice forbearance. Obviously, a wife is not perfect, either. Nor is a daughter or son. We all have our faults. And yet, with good character expressing itself in one’s life, it makes it much easier for one’s family to forgive one’s many flaws.

    Conversely, bad character obstructs the free flow of grace and forgiveness in the home {and the workplace and the Church, for that matter}. Granted, the one that learns to forgive a person of bad character will certainly grow from the experience, but the questions that I have been angling at are these: Do I want to be a difficult person to forgive? Do I want to be the sort of person who is a challenge to others?

    The answers should be obvious.

    Though one should seek good character out of love for Christ and a desire to display His glory to the world, it is wise to also notice the benefits. It is a delight to know that not only are His commands not burdensome, but that they also reap a harvest of peace and blessing!


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