Tag Archives: character

Cobblers Column: Character

Today’s match day column for the game against Shrewsbury

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I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who watched with amazement last season as Liverpool, spearheaded by the deadly duo of Suarez and Sturridge, got within an inch of the Premiership title. Suarez was in the form of his life and was pulling defences apart on an almost weekly basis. After the controversies of the season before, he was finally making headlines for the right reasons.

And then we watched this summer as an innocuous challenge turned into something ugly during a World Cup group match. For the third time in his career he sank his teeth into an opposition player. On the one hand, I couldn’t believe he’d bitten someone again. On the other, it didn’t surprise me at all.

I recently read an article by an author who summed up our public lives like this: Character is King.

Our character – the traits and qualities that determine how we think of and treat others – can be our biggest strength or our greatest weakness. All of us have positive aspects to our character as well as negative. Unfortunately, in pressure situations it is often the negative characteristics that come out. We can all think of the “otherwise good bloke” who loses his head from time to time, or the office manager who loves putting others down. Left unchecked, these negative aspects can destroy us. They are worth working on to ensure that they aren’t what people remember us for.

Sixteen years ago, another young footballer was punished after an act of petulance on the pitch on the world stage. Afterwards, he received death threats, was booed at every away game up and down the country for the rest of the season, and was vilified by the press. But four years later, his reputation had completely transformed. He had gone from being seen as the cocky young kid who’d been sent off and had got his celebrity girlfriend pregnant, to a devoted husband and father, and a man who always worked 100% for the team. Earlier this year David Beckham spoke about it like this: “That sending off made me as a person”. It was quite clear to see in the years following the incident how he buckled down and attempted to change his ways.

Sadly we won’t be seeing the silky skills of Louis Suarez in the Premiership this season. He’ll be sitting out this weekend, serving his suspension, as his new teammates in Barcelona kick off in La Liga again. But I do hope he works on that biting thing. It would be nice to remember him not just as a great player, but one who achieves success after reforming from his very public mistakes.

Best of luck to all the lads out there today against Shrewsbury. May they demonstrate their very positive characteristics of determination, discipline, and teamwork in order to take all three points!

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Achievements

champagne cork

It’s a new year. As the years change we often find ourselves looking back at the achievements of the previous year, and looking forward to new goals, resolutions and plans for the next year. Has it been a successful year? Will next year be better? And of course, there are many things which turn up unexpected and we can’t plan for. In reality, we know that many of our goals and resolutions will go by the wayside by the end of January, and will still remain intentions moving into next year.

So what should my goals be for the 2014? I have some ideas, physical, social, and work related. I’d like to run more often and further, I may think about a writing project, and I have definite ideas about the growth of the church I lead. Hopefully some of them will come to be, and with a little discipline this may be possible.

But at the end of the day, we are not measured on what we achieve or the plans to bring to fruition. There is a certain amount we are judged on how we have used the situations and talents at our disposal (the parable of the talents), however, on the whole, God is far more interested in our character than our achievements. Jesus focuses our attention on loving God and loving our neighbour (Matt 22:39), on thinking of others as better than ourselves (Mark 9:35), whilst Paul encourages us to follow Christ’s example of humility (Phil 2) – not in a ‘beat yourself up’ way, but simply in an Godward looking way. Get these right, act out of a love for God and maybe some of the goals which we plan may happen also. We will certainly grow closer to God in the process.

So perhaps this year it is worth working on character rather than achievements.