Often times when I watch a movie or TV show I see scenes where the main character is thrown into a terribly dramatic and climatic situation where he is forced to make a major decision. As a viewer, I quickly realize that this enormous decision will reveal the true character of our hero. Will he cower and buckle under the weight or will he rise up in selfless courage and prove to us once for all the kind of person we have thought him to be. On TV, big moments like these are where true character is made and displayed.
This works on TV, but not really in real life. We sometimes think that our character is made by the enormous moments that we face. We think that our true character is seen by how we act in the big moments of life. To an extent, what we do with the big decisions definitely say something about our character, but not as much as the small decisions we make everyday. In real life, our character is made and displayed, not by the massively important decisions, but by the immensely small and numerous decisions we make with every passing hour.
Dr. Paul Tripp brings this out well:
You and I don’t live in a series of big, dramatic moments. We don’t careen from big decision to big decision. We all live in an endless series of little moments. The character of a life isn’t set in ten big moments. The character of a life is set in the ten thousand little moments of everyday life. It’s the themes of struggles that emerge from those little moments that reveal what’s really going on in our hearts. (Taken from Whiter Than Snow, p. 21)
So do you wish to know who you really are? Then don’t wait for some big moment to come, but look at the ten thousand small moments of your everyday life.
- How you treat people when you’re tired.
- The way you speak to your wife and children.
- The way you spend your 9-5.
- What you do when thinks don’t go your way.
- The things you choose to talk about with your friends.
- The way you speak about other people when they’re not around.
- The way you choose to resolve an argument with a friend or family member.
- The way you do your homework or study.
- The way you eat a meal.
What do your daily, small decisions say about you? Further, how are your daily, small decisions forming you? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you will act nobly in the immensely dramatic moments to come if you aren’t acting nobly in the immensely mundane and small moments of your each and every day.
What if those small moments reveal something terrible about you? Despair not friend, there has been blood shed for, not only the few big sins, but the countless little ones as well (1 Peter 2:24). Our Redeemer lives.