Reputation describes who others think you are; character describes who you really are.
Your character is revealed – not only by your actions – but by your reactions. CS Lewis wrote: Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is best evidence for what sort of man he is.
While on vacation, driving more than 5,500 miles across 11 states and Canada, we were in the great state of Wyoming. If there was one place on earth I would choose to live, and finding a job wasn’t an issue, it would be Wyoming. The kind and friendly people, the wide-open expanses, the 333 days of sunshine, the love of liberty, and the extremely generous tax structure all shout to me: COME! I couldn’t keep from blubbering about how much I love Wyoming.
Only 42 miles into the northeast corner of Wyoming, I was again going on about the greatness of Wyoming when I got my first traffic ticket. The state trooper pulled me over, and stepping to my open car window, shook my hand, introduced himself as Trooper Jeff, and then asked if I knew how fast I was driving. I did. I was going over the speed limit and admitted my fault, though I thought I had a reasonable explanation.
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to write you a ticket.” He walked back to his black Dodge Charger with blue and red lights still flashing to every gawking passerby. All the while, my son was in the back seat laughing hysterically and taking photos of me and the flashing lights of the police car.
Trooper Jeff returned after a few minutes with the traffic ticket, again shook my hand and apologized.
It was an opportunity for me to be angry, blame others in the car, or let the $110 fine ruin my day or the remainder of the vacation. Instead, I laughed. I didn’t laugh at my crime, but at the irony of how and where and why it occurred.
That night at the dinner table, I prayed, thanking God for my first ticket. It couldn’t have come from a nicer guy in a nicer place. And who knows what danger was ahead that Trooper Jeff spared me from as I waited on the shoulder of Interstate 90. If nothing else, God allowed the revelation of a bit of my character.
We are not trying to show you our qualifications again, but we are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us. Then you can answer those who are proud of their appearance rather than their character (2 Corinthians 5:12, GWT)