character and our path

Friday, June 13, 2003

adam and i had/are having a fantastic conversation about experiences and who we are.
do our experiences shape who we are, or do we determine our experiences?

i think both.

some people seem tossed and turned about by what life hands them. other people seem so firmly in control of their life, steering their life toward a certain destiny. what's the difference?

if you can imagine an inside and an outside fighting all the time.
if the inside is stronger, it will not succumb to the pressure of the outside. the outside will have no effect.
now, if the outside is stronger than the inside, the inside will certainly be shaped by what the outside wishes.

the inside that i'm speaking of is a person's character. the outside i'm speaking of is the life-situation. if the person's character is strong, the experience will certainly be shaped. if the person's character is weak, the experience will definitely leave its mark on the individual.

a "strong character" i mean is defined by the Word of God.

experiences tend to reveal what is already resident within us. two people will have completely different reactions to a driver cutting them off on the highway. why? because of the person's character. values and personality, all making up character.

BUT we cannot deny that experiences do not leave some kind of imprint on us. however, we also must consider that even the most horrible experiences shape people different ways. again, i return to character. what would cause someone to be abused as a child only to grow up to desire to help other abused children, and another individual to grow up and use their upbringing as a crutch? character.

i think that when Jesus said this, what we're discussing here has to do with that: "Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even when he has will be taken from him" (Matthew 13: 12-13). the person with the richness of a strong character will only learn more and grow stronger because of his experiences - but the person who is already weak will only be weakened by his experience in life.

yeah, i think that sums that thought/discussion up.

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