Friday, May 19

A question of character

It's been said that one definition of character is who you are when no one is looking. In fact, Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek, has written a book with that title. (The book is worth reading, by the way). Another good definition is how you act when you do have time to think first.

I had one of those moments yesterday. This spring, I have been working as an umpire for youth baseball and softball games. It's usually a lot of fun.

Last night I was umping a Little League game. The same age group and rules you see in the Little League World Series. About half way through the game, one of the teams brought in a new pitcher who was throwing harder than any of the other pitchers. The batter swung at a high fastball, and got a little piece of it. Just enough to speed it up, put some spin on it, and redirect it at my chest. It hit me near the shoulder, in the cutout of the chest protector designed to give you a full range of motion in the shoulder. It hurt. A lot.

In that moment, the reaction just comes out of your mouth. There is no time to think about what you are going to say. As people grow up, followers of Christ in particular, they learn to filter their language based on the situation they are in. Many people try to use cleaner language around children, or women, or at church, or other situations.

In situations like mine yesterday, you don't have time to use those filters. A piece of your character comes out. Fortunately, when I opened my mouth last night, all that came out was a wordless scream. Like I said, it hurt a lot. If I had sworn, which many people would find understandable in the situation, I would have hurt any potential witness for Christ that I might have had in the situation.

You never know when you are going to have the opportunity to share Christ with others. And you never know when something unexpected might happen that shines a light on a piece of your character. I'm glad that, last night at least, I passed the test.

1 comment:

TheBGRT said...

You make a very good point senor Gleason. As Chrstians, we should make the most out of every situation for the cause for Christ. That is the same whether it is amongst people that are not Christians and those that are Christians as well. Here at CCU, I have noticed that I have to do that as well, the whole "do not cause your brother to stumble" attitude. It is challenging at times, but I know that in the end the pro's out weigh the cons.