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Character Education a Good Thing? – Depends on the Purpose

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Character Traits

In previous posts we determined that character education must be evaluated in light of of these questions:

What constitutes good character?Is it defined by God’s character or self-determined?

How do we acquire these character traits?Is it performance-based or developed as we grow in our relationship with God through His grace and power?

Finally, if we want to know if character education is a good thing, we must also ask, What is the ultimate purpose in developing good character?Is it for self-promotion and “what’s in it for me?” or for the glory of God?

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  (2 Pet. 1:8-9)

What is the purpose of being effective? — “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)

What is the purpose of being productive (fruitful)? — “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit …” (Jn. 15:8)

—– If the goal of character development is simply to become better people, it misses the mark.  Or, if it is with the end of being more accomplished in order to gain the applause or favor of others, it falls short.

God should ultimately be the focus in any character development.  We become more Christ-like so we can let the light of our lives shine more on Him than us.

“let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

Remember, for character education to be good, whether teaching traits from the pulpit, in the classroom, or in a discipleship relationship …

  1. God and His character must be the standard.  Guard against anything that makes it self-determined.
  1. God’s power and grace are essential for character development.  Guard against anything that makes it self-effort.
  1. God’s glory is the end result of character change.  Guard against anything that makes self-promotion the goal.

If you don’t guard against these pitfalls, look what you are left with: — “self”

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