We learn about God’s perfect character in the Bible.

We learn about God’s perfect character in the Bible.

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher. He wrote about ethics.

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher. He wrote about ethics.

A girl takes part in a soccer training session in Srinagar, Kashmir. People show character traits as they participate in sports, school, work, and other areas of life. (AP/Dar Yasin)

A girl takes part in a soccer training session in Srinagar, Kashmir. People show character traits as they participate in sports, school, work, and other areas of life. (AP/Dar Yasin)

Ethics help us make choices. Will you be kind or mean? Sharing or selfish?

Ethics help us make choices. Will you be kind or mean? Sharing or selfish?

Character Counts

Posted: January 1, 2022

Play by the rules. Take turns. Show kindness. Have a thankful heart. Respect authority. Obey the law.

Good citizens know that character counts. They also know that how someone acts when something good (or bad!) happens matters. That’s what ethics are all about. Ethics help us decide what to do when we must make choices.

All day long, people choose. Should I tell the truth or lie? Will I be generous or stingy? Will I work hard or take the easy way out? Should I be a friend or foe? How we respond illustrates what we value.

The word “ethics” comes from the Greek ethos. That word means “character.” Character shows someone’s way of thinking, feeling, and acting. Are you trustworthy? Respectful? Responsible? Fair? Caring? Hardworking? A good citizen? If you are, then you have strong ethics.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle called ethics “practical wisdom.” The Bible overflows with practical wisdom. Look at Proverbs. The whole book is dedicated to wisdom. The Old Testament prophet Micah reminds believers how to live. Micah 6:8 says, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

James 1:5 tells us to ask God for wisdom about how to live. Ephesians 5:15 reminds us to make wise choices: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.”

Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. Sometimes the wrong choice feels faster or simpler—or more popular. But that doesn’t make wrong things right.

The Bible reminds us of the condition of our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” We can’t count on our hearts to make us good citizens. They can’t be trusted! But God knows us inside and out. He helps us choose strong, good ethics instead of selfishness. God gives us the Bible as a guide and an example of His perfect character. He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us make good decisions when tough choices come up. What a gift!