Sunday, February 1, 2015
“Mr., students are always saying that I am a slut because I am giving boys hugs, but I don’t do anything with them. Do you think that I should keep doing it?” My daughter, this question raises some serious issues that we must face as a society. The failure of people to differentiate between personality and character has germinated condemnations like those of the teenager. Many people are unaware that there is a huge dichotomy between personality and character. The Bible and psychology do so. If people would try to make the difference, then many wrong judgments of people will no more be there. Therefore, this reply will first define the terms, show the differences and then apply them with her question.
Character has nothing to do with looks per se because today people consider beautiful people as good people and ugly people as bad people until you live with them. In dating, slim or athletic girls are considered more than curvy or obese girls. The slender girl could be more than Jezebel (I kings 21:25); meanwhile, the obese girl could be like Abigail (I Sam 25:32). The first difference is that personality deals with the appearance while character deals with the person within. Man always sees the personality; albeit, God sees character (I Sam 16:7). Personality helps us in facial and vocal expressions.
Personalities are different but character is identical. There are those who are choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic. If someone does not have hate in their hearts, it will be the same feeling and the same way they treat people. Character is the ability to keep the laws of God and man; meanwhile, personality helps him to show what he is or is not. Personality helps to expose character, but character does not do same. That is; you will see some people who do good but no one knows (Eccl 9:14-15); while, others do something just little and they drumbeat it everywhere. Character is invisible attributes while personality is the appearance thereof. That is why we say that, “... So the heart of man reflects the man (Prov. 27:19).”
Character deals with concrete actions. If a girl is hugging guys, it does not mean that she is a slut. She will be a slut for sleeping with those guys. Her personality is that of friendliness, but she is very moral. Her hugging could actually be a good thing as there are many people who have committed suicide because of loneliness. It is like those of us who give our phone numbers to everyone we meet because we want them to know us before forming their opinions. That does not mean that we want them for something else. I always laugh when I give my number to a lady, and she thinks that I want more than that. The same number is on the internet for anyone to call me. If you see anyone who is always suspicious of others and always accusing others, you should know that they don’t have a great character themselves, so they think that everyone is the same. They see in you a reflection of themselves. Personality is a variable, but character is a constant.
People of identical personality always easily bond but that bond if ephemeral; meanwhile, the bond from character lasts much longer. As you know, gender could influence personality, but it does not do same with character.
I met a young man and found out that he was now a member of the LDS (Mormon Church). He told me that he is actually a Muslim, but he attends the LDS because they pay his rents and give him pocket allowance. He has just newly married. He says he smokes and drinks, and his LDS wife knows it, but she tells him never to do it in public when they have members. He says after he gets his feet on the ground, he will divorce her. He has a friendly personality, but he has a dubious character. Can you see the difference now?
I grew up with two identical twins. One was an introvert, and the sister was an extrovert. Everyone expected the extrovert to be pregnant first or drop out of school because she was the outgoing person, always playing with people, laughing with everyone and hugging boys left and right; whereas, the sister kept to herself and even seldom spoke to anyone out of her family. By the end of the school year, it was the introvert who got pregnant and dropped out of school. This is one of those situations again where character is different from personality. Simply because someone has a friendly personality does not mean that they are libertine. Vantassel-Baska says that, “Personality patterns in many highly gifted students may run counter to the norm.”
Another difference is those who are outspoken and those who are not. People easily hate the outspoken people and trust those who are not outspoken because they flatter and sly. There are those who are choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic in personality, but that is not their character. Someone could be very outgoing but a thief; meanwhile, another person could be very phlegmatic but promiscuous. The young woman should continue hugging people as she wants and let those who have evil in their hearts continue to judge her with sanctimony. The Bible wants Christians to have positive personalities. That is why we always tell greeters in Church to smile and be jovial when they welcome visitors.
Until then, live your live as honest as possible before God and man and disregard the hearsay.
St Arrey of Ntenako.
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