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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

July 1, 2016

Our private life

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Years ago someone told me that a person isn't necessarily what he seems to be when he is around people – the way he acts when others are around or the impression he wants to make on others. Instead, as my conversation partner mentioned, the real person is how that person acts in private – when no one else is around and there is no need to make an impression.

There aren't many days in our life when we don't have to decide how to act on a matter of conscience. Sometimes we face the choice of acting or being a certain way, because people expect it of us or we want them to think of us in a certain way, or acting differently, because that is what would please God. Government officials have been offered bribes to give someone an advantage that he is not entitled to legally. Employees may be asked to enter false amounts or "doctor" reports to appear positive. And pupils and students may be faced with an opportunity to cheat and get a better grade.

The decisions we make on a daily basis as Christians show how seriously we take the integrity of character that God expects from us. All decisions reflect the law of cause and effect. They can lead to positive or negative results. And the decisions we make when in private, when no one sees us and there isn't anyone we might want to impress, reflect our true character.

The worst effect on our character are those decisions we make in our private life when no one sees us when we would have acted differently if someone had been around.

God doesn't care much for the appearance of good character. He isn't interested in our "Sabbath smile" or "Sabbath behavior" at church services, when we act differently the other six days of the week when our brethren are not around. God is interested in the substance of character – character that remains the same whether someone is around or not.

The apostle Paul admonishes us to prove whether Christ is in us (2 Corinthians 13:5). The substance of Jesus' character was unchanging. So every now and then we have the opportunity to ask ourselves: "Would I act this way or make this decision this way if someone (my spouse, my children, my parents, my colleague, my neighbor] were with me right now?"

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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