From the Rev: Character in the Dark

Sep 07, 2014

The evangelist, D.L. Moody once said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” Who are we when no one is looking? Who are we when no one is around? Perhaps, for the professional athlete, this question seems irrelevant – much of the professional life is spent in front of cameras, events and comments are captured by smartphones, minutia is tweeted, facebooked, instagrammed and more.  Is there any dark in an athletes’ life? Is there any moment when the crowds or coaches, family or friends aren’t watching?

NASCAR’s Tony Stewart was under investigation earlier this year for hitting a fellow driver on the racetrack. An investigation is ongoing into whether Stewart carried any fault.

Well, regardless if we are professional athletes or have another vocational capacity there are no moments when we are ever truly alone or unseen. Proverbs 15:3 tells us, The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. And even in the moments when our actions are caught in the lens of a camera, the intent of our hearts may not necessarily be revealed – whether it is a clumsy tackle in football or driving into a fellow racer on a racetrack. And as we consider some of the events that we see in professional environs (whether sports or elsewhere) and even question the motivations of the heart and feel that justice may or may not be served, we do know that, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).

So who are we in the dark? When “no one” else is around, when no one is looking – who are we in those moments? The dark is not just limited to lightless or behind the scenes moments – there are other “dark” moments in this world: unemployment, losing streaks, economic downturns, poverty, hunger, famine, persecution, and many, many more. Who are we in those moments? How do we respond in those dark times? A comparable, biblical moment that I sometimes reflect on is the lives of Peter and Judas. Both betrayed, both denied Christ, both felt the burning shame of what they had done – but only one embraced forgiveness and grace, only one was able to live a transformed life; the other could not find his way out of darkness and was hopeless in taking his own life, a thief to the very end.

Consider your own shadow side (we all have one) and consider the content of your character – for who we are in the dark can make all the difference in the world.


Rev. Brad Kenney

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