The position that circumstance reveals what is a person is, is correct as scripture bears witness in many bios in the divine record. As a partial olive branch, I admit the scripture reveals that circumstance is often the method used by the Lord to get attention or to refine the person, to reveal to the person going through it that when all is said and done, a deeper realization of the depth of the Lord’s commitment to us via His seal, which is often mentioned along the way.
An example of character comes from an unlikely source. Born in slavery, son of a black slave girl and a white plantation owner, he didn’t know his name until after the emancipation. At 9 years of age he was present as a representative of President Lincoln read the Emancipation Proclamation to the gathered slaves. His mother wept as she tried to explain the meaning to him. Known only by his nick name, he told a school teacher that his family name was Washington. When his mother discovered this, she told him of his true history and that the man who was his biological father was named Booker Taliaferro. Booker began using Booker Taliaferro Washington throughout his life. As to adversity, note this from Up From Slavery:
"I cannot recall a single instance during my childhood or early boyhood when our entire family sat down to the table together, and God's blessing was asked, and the family ate a meal in a civilized manner. On the plantation in Virginia, and even later, meals were gotten to the children very much as dumb animals get theirs. It was a piece of bread here and a scrap of meat there. It was a cup of milk at one time and some potatoes at another."
He claimed that he never met his natural father.
Yet this man’s life counted. Thousands of other former slaves had essentially the same circumstance as Mr. Washington. What was the difference? It comes down to one of his many quotable statements.
“Character, not circumstances, makes the man.”
Christianity, when let loose in a person’s life, begins, via the Spirit of Christ residing in them, building character, the tenacious kind, that can go through all sorts of circumstances designed to in some way demean them, yet they will not succumb to the process, but by the power of Christ working in them, become men and women of opposite character. Booker T. never saw himself as sub human, but with a powerful faith, even as a youngster, grasped the importance of developing a genuine inner strength, character that enabled him to overcome self-esteem killing circumstance, to rise above the slurs and often outright physical and emotional abuse.
Are you “going through it?” With Christ you are tougher than the tough circumstances of life.
Copyright © 2016 Larry Lilly
IT Fixing by Oral Deckard