Our response to hard times defines our character, says Sheffield minister
This past week has felt like another episode in the global drama we seem to be living within, made up of unmissable and sometimes unbelievable moments.
We celebrated the highlight that a Covid-19 vaccine could soon be ready.
We watched the world’s most powerful politician stoop low, as President Donald Trump dragged his heals and refused to concede defeat in open, democratic elections.
Personally, I struggle with this man’s response to defeat.
I think it sets a remarkably poor example to a nation and a watching world which expects and strives for truth and fairness to define how humans live in society together.
The Christian Bible sets a consistently high-bar as the example of what makes a good leader.
Good leadership isn’t about strength of arms or strength of resolve, the best kind of leader has a strength of character.
Rising to high authority, power and leadership in any sphere of society carries a huge weight, and the safest people to hold those positions are those with a depth of character to match these pressures.
What about you and me?
In our everyday lives we don’t experience the level of drama that reaches TV news, yet we have enough troubles and trials of our own.
How we respond to hard times and disappointment will define our characters for the long-haul.
Failure need not be seen as weakness.
Contrast the most famous US President, Abraham Lincoln, whose political and personal life had a catalogue of failures and frailties – three of his children died young – yet his legacy is the emancipation of slavery.
St Paul said: “Endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our
confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know
how dearly God loves us.”
Eventually, St Paul was martyred for his beliefs and passion.
As a Christian I try to learn from my times of failure and frustration, so that I may respond to
life’s challenges maturely as I grow up and grow older.
Ultimately, I know that because God loves me, whether or not circumstances go my way, I’ve got nothing to lose and nothing more to prove.