1997-09-10-Jesus Taught Character
Topic: Jesus Taught Character
Group: N. Idaho TeaM
Your text says that Jesus taught character growth rather than character building. There is a nice distinction here, for building provides the image that you add to, to externally take upon yourself character traits that you view externally, where growth implies an emergence from within. Growth, the word itself, implies an integrity already inherent in the many facets of character, not merely the association of parts but an integration. In your desire to develop a morontia character you can, of course, aspire to traits you admire in others and look for ways to make these your own. Character traits such as grace, kindness, are all worthwhile. But there is another aspect to this that you can apply in your life, and those are underlying character traits that are the foundation for the traits that manifest. These lie in the dimension of your volition; they entail intent, directional focus, your purposive motivation. Anyone can acquire a trait through crafty application of behavioral alteration, but when the core of your being is directed Godward, there emerges these same traits but rooted deeply in your soul. I therefor encourage you, when you do admire or aspire to attain greater character, that you begin first by asking yourself the motive, making a decision that is sincere, and then apply yourself in its development. You will have then grown a character rather than adopt and craft one which is fragile when adversity strikes.
I am Stephen. Thank you for this opportunity.
Evelyn: It sounds like when you develop traits from what you already have, you can remake what you might consider negative traits, bad habits. There's probably some element of good qualities in them that can be built upon. Stubbornness can be seen, for instance, as either persistence or blindedness.
Stephen: Yes. Stubbornness, a trait you would frown upon, can be converted into steadfastness, a trait you would admire. Often what you do have in character is translatable, transformable. You are already well endowed with character traits, for, as you have indicated, the negative ones can become transformed rather than eliminated.
Evelyn: That probably spells something. An acronym. Something with a J in it!
Sheila: We'll have to think about that one for awhile.
Evelyn: It seems personal. You couldn't tell if someone else were growing or building or neither. You can really only apply it to yourself because of motive. Outwardly it might seem the same whether you are acting on some deep motive or just trying to paste on some new behavior.
Sheila: That is what I heard. Observing others' traits you can apply that to yourself, like maybe I would handle this situation like this. Then that would add the growth to yourself, as opposed to attacking or judging.
Stephen: We return to the subject of judgement often, for it has many dimensions both favorable and unfavorable about it. The key ingredient is to always allow yourself and another the freedom to change or to expand, for you know even to judge someone as honest is, in itself, a judgement which could bring disenchantment when that imperfect being fails. The important aspect is to direct your evaluation back upon yourself and apply it to increased growth. This is a manner of applying the phrase, "judge not lest ye be judged." To state otherwise, in judging, apply the judging to yourself. Utilize your observation to growth and expect growth in another rather than seal them in a doom.
John: The guides have been talking to me about skills, being skillful. I get uncomfortable with that because there are a lot of experts who aren't experts. We are imperfect beings. How can we determine when we are skilled? We can say something doesn't bother us anymore, that we have healed that trait or imperfection, but have we? How do we know if we are skilled? Is heaven the judge?
Stephen: An expert is one who has experienced what one has become skilled about; even the two words are related, experienced and expert. Experience develops the skills to express your understanding; your experience is, in itself, the raw data of which you become an expert. To express theoretically without the experience is a beginning. It provides you the conceptual perspective for undergoing the experience yourself just as it equally becomes the vehicle of expression you make for another to begin the same journey that you have experienced.
Skill, in a brief statement, would be having undergone the experiences to ingrain your expertise. But I would add another dimension, and it reflects somewhat on my opening statements. There are ways you can apply yourself that allow you experience in a field such as discipline, motivation, determination. Skills are not specific to the topic but are driving forces toward accomplishment. The very skills you applied to accomplish your project are the very skills you will require to undergo the experiences that make you, not only an expert at expressing to others, but firsthand experiences in the very details. It is only a matter of redirecting your efforts.
Has this provided help?
John: So, what I am going to be an expert on is what John and Father together, through experience, create? What I was thinking of was an expert's skills, according to the major population. My skills and my expertise will be according to who I am. Whether it resonates with the population is not my concern.
Stephen: Yes, any one individual can become accomplished in any field. But each expert is valuable on its own, for each expert has a differential in comprehension through the variety of interpretation of the given data. To simply retain the data as a storehouse does not make one an expert. It is the ability to interpret and apply that gives significance to the information that is sought from an expert. Therefore your unique personality becomes a valuable contribution to the great field of expertise.
Stephen: There is truth to that, and you have expressed the significance in that you have grown in a comprehension of the steps that lead to and out of anger. An expert is one who has experienced and is enlightened about the experience, not only can do but can explain.