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Chapter 5: Character Kills

Matthew 12

46 While he yet talked
to the people,
behold, his mother and his brethren
stood without,
desiring to speak with him.

47 Then one said unto him,
“Behold, thy mother and thy brethren
stand without,
desiring to speak with thee.”

48 But he answered
and said unto him that told him,
“Who is my mother?
And who are my brethren?”

49 And he stretched forth his hand
toward his disciples, and said,
“Behold my mother
and my brethren!”

50 “For whomsoever shall do
the will of my father
which is in heaven,
the same is my brother,
and sister, and mother.”

Luke 14

25 And there went
great multitudes with him:
and he turned,
and said unto them,

26 “If any man come to me,
and hate not his father, and mother,
and wife, and children,
and brethren, and sisters,
yea, and his own life also,
he cannot be my disciple.”

27 “And whosoever
doth not bear his cross,
and come after me,
cannot be my disciple.”

Thomas Carlyle once said about one of his friends that he was born a man and died a grocer. Everybody is born great and dies very small. Everybody is born like a god and almost always dies like a dog. What happens in between? Why is man crippled by life?

One should hope that man grows to greater dimensions, grows to greater heights, grows to greater life - what Jesus calls “life abundant” - but that rarely happens. How it usually happens is that man starts shrinking. The moment man is born he starts shrinking, becoming smaller and smaller and smaller. This has to be understood.

When a child is born he has no identity. He simply is. That “is-ness” is vast, it has magnitude, it has no limitation. The child has no name yet - a name cripples - the child has no identity, the child does not know who he is. That is his greatness, that is his vastness. He is one with existence; he is not yet separated. He has no boundary, no finitude.

A child has no character; that is his beauty. Character kills. The more character you have, the smaller you have become. Character is an armor around you. It defines you - and every definition is a death. Let me repeat: Every definition is a death. Only the undefined is alive.

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