Among all the strife, hatred, and division we are seeing today in the culture, it is all indicative of a lack of character qualities. Building of character is something that many people, probably most for that matter, don’t really give any attention to. People are caught up in their jobs, vocations, family life, and daily routine of living. In all of these things character qualities, or the lack of, have much to do with one’s relationship with others. They can also determine the degree of success on a job, the strength of a family, or one’s interactions and attitudes towards others in a general sense.
It should be very obvious that our present day culture severely lacks the qualities that make for a loving society. In fact, hatred seems to be getting worse by the day! People are more interested in what will support their political agenda than they are in exhibiting personal qualities for the betterment of society. No thought is given to this. Human nature just does not think this way. This was fully evident in the Kavanaugh hearings.
The Book of II Peter in the New Testament has much to say about the building of character. The way to build better human nature resulting in positive character qualities for the betterment of society is to partake of the divine nature of God, through His grace and power. II Peter 1:2-4 has this to say: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
Verses five to seven list several qualities: faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. This passage starts by emphasizing “applying all diligence.” This is saying that conscious thought and effort must be given to building character qualities. They are not going to happen naturally! But, oh, what a difference it would make, wouldn’t it, if even a small minority of people would give attention to this. However, it won’t happen without there being a transformation of the human character by the power and grace of God that results in new attitudes and motives. It will happen by being connected to God’s divine nature. To that you may ask how this is done? It is made possible by entering into a personal relationship with the God of the universe through his Son, Jesus Christ. Then the Holy Spirit of God will take over and develop qualities that will transform individual lives and society at large.
Verse eight says, “For if these qualities are yours and increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I know it might be mean-spirited to say this, but isn’t it true that some people in our culture are useless? They are causing nothing but division and hatred! That could all be changed by having the fruits of the Holy Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
This is the only way our culture is going to change. Instead of going at each other with hatred, prejudice, and political bias, there would be a consciousness that sees a need for change on an individual level resulting in a much more loving culture.
(My next article will be on the “Real Meaning of Love.”) Stay tuned.