The Beauty of Character

Shobana Vetrivel   |   August 7, 2015 

photo-1438707207584-d9fcda4a60e7

"Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation." 

This quote mentioned by our beloved former President Abdul Kalam in a famous speech has been ringing in my head ever since I heard it. I love the progression, and that something as small as righteousness and beauty of character in one heart, has huge implications for what a nation could look like.

Of course, the more I think about it, righteousness of the heart is not something small. In fact it is a colossal giant of a barrier and where the buck pretty much stops. I don’t need to point fingers at anyone but one look at my own heart is glaring evidence of unrighteousness. That is one reality I live with.

But I also live with another, far greater reality. That because of Christ and His work on the cross and my simple faith in Him, I am a recipient of a righteousness that I didn’t work for or accomplish on my own. Nothing I do can take that away from me. And I don’t need to do anything to ensure it stays.

It is the most freeing reality I live with and while I soak in the beauty of it, I know that on some days it is my biggest excuse to not be the best person that I can be, which is essentially being like Christ. Far too often, I extend myself “Amazing Grace” and live away from the reality of what it means to profess faith in Christ and to be His disciple.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in “The Cost of Discipleship” talks about costly grace –

“The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap? .. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Following Christ and being like is Him is part of the beauty of this greater reality. This means that I strive to be a person who is loving, humble, gracious, truthful, forgiving, generous and all those things that make me a person who reflects the beauty of Christ. Not in my own strength, but through Christ who gives me strength. And when I don’t reflect those things, that I begin to think deeply of how I can reflect them more and more.

Whether it is braving up to be the first person to ask for and extend forgiveness, or to really honestly genuinely consider others better than myself, to be honest when it would be oh so much easier to just twist the truth a little, to pay an honest wage when it would eat up into my budget, to be kind and generous to those who cannot repay in any way and largely go unnoticed, to control my tongue when I could easily bring down someone’s reputation, to extend grace when it is so much easier to judge, and the list goes on.

All of this is a battle first fought in the heart before it comes out in character. Which is why the battle for righteousness is a battle for the heart.

God in his grace and mercy has restored righteousness to my heart, and when I fail to reflect his character, I know that I have taken over the reins - I have allowed my petty and selfish interests to demand their right to being fulfilled and taken seriously. The consequences of this are unfortunately, always ugly.

Which is why beauty is a great motivator. When I see beauty in character, my response is almost the sense of awe that I would feel looking at a lovely piece of art, a rich poem with depth of meaning or breath-taking scenery. It is simply beautiful and unfortunately not a common sight. But people sit up and notice. It speaks for itself and when it points to Christ, it’s the best witness the world will ever see.

This is not an effort to earn favour with God, which I already possess, but to display what I have already received freely and the beauty of the One we worship.

 

 Photo Credit: Unsplash

The following two tabs change content below.

Shobana Vetrivel

Shobana Vetrivel enjoys the hustle and bustle of city life and the adventure of living in New Delhi. She has an educational background in social development and theology and has worked in both development and ministry settings. She currently works with Delhi School of Theology and is pursuing a PhD in Practical Theology. Books, travelling, theology, coffee and deep conversations are a few of her favourite things.  
Tagged on:
Prev Article
Next Article

2 comments on “The Beauty of Character”

  1. What an encouragement shobhana at the start of the day...its beautiful.Just to understand that his grace will etch my character and will bring peace not only in me but my family and surroundings and that it is indeed the best example of Christ likeness...Thank you once again and keep writing more.take care

  2. God in his grace and mercy has restored righteousness to my heart, and when I fail to reflect his character, I know that I have taken over the reins – I have allowed my petty and selfish interests to demand their right to being fulfilled and taken seriously. The consequences of this are unfortunately, always ugly. Thank you for this reminder shobi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

From Our Archives

© 2023 IndiAanya. All rights reserved. Designed by NWD.
crossmenu
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram
%d bloggers like this: