The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What makes us better?


This morning I received a friend request from a person unknown to me. Before I clicked on the “Accept” button I decided to check out this person’s Facebook page. I found nothing that was of interest to me. In fact I decided that the whole site was not going to add to my knowledge or to my character.

This caused me to think about how a word that I rarely hear today: edification.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, edification, and its cognate, edify, means “to teach (someone) in a way that improves the mind or character.” In modern translations of the Bible, the word, that the King James Version (1611) translated as “edify” is translated as “to build up.”

Reflect with me for a moment on the Merriam-Webster definition of edify; are we really interested in improving our minds or characters? Our American culture is hell-bent on trying to outdo itself in its lack of character. We are so afraid of being accused of self-righteous that we have decided that we would rather be “unholier than thou” than “holier than thou.”

I am beginning to think about what and who builds me up in knowledge and character. Who makes me a more informed person? What activity will enhance my character?

St. Paul said it best: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

After some brief reflection, I clicked on “decline.”

Ronald Friesen © 2015