Summary: Self respect comes from having strong character. Say whatever you want about what constitutes self respect, but it cannot exist apart from a strong, Godly character. D. L. Moody said Character is what you are in the dark
Self respect comes from having strong character. Say whatever you want about what constitutes self
respect, but it cannot exist apart from a strong, Godly character. D. L. Moody said Character is what you
are in the dark. 
Where does character come from? How does it arrive? After all, everyone has character; not everyone’s
character is something about which you’d want to boast. Charles Swindoll, in Growing Deep in the
Christian Life , tells about a man who bought fried chicken dinners for himself and his date late one
afternoon. The attendant at the fast food outlet, however, inadvertently gave him the proceeds from the
day’s business--a bucket of money (much of it cash) instead of fried chicken. Swindoll writes:
"After driving to their picnic site, the two of them sat down to enjoy some chicken. They discovered a
whole lot more than chicken--over $800! But he was unusual. He quickly put the money back in the bag.
They got back into the car and drove all the way back. By then, the manager was frantic.
"The Man got out, walked in, and became an instant hero.” I want you to know I came by to get a couple
of chicken dinners and wound up with all this money here.’
"Well, the manager was thrilled to death. He said, ’Let me call the newspaper. I’m gonna have your
picture put in the local paper. You’re one of the most honest men I’ve ever heard of.’
"To which the man quickly responded, ’Oh, no. No, no, don’t do that!’ Then he leaned closer and
whispered, ’You see, the woman I’m with--she’s, uh, somebody else’s wife.’ "
So, I ask again, Where does strong character come from? I maintain it is in the hands and lives of Mom
and Dad (the home), and our society – but mostly it is formed in the home. It happens in the everyday of
I believe we can teach our children to have a self-respect that will build a strong Godly character. It is a
matter of balancing discipline and instruction with our own daily example, and it is not the impossible
dream, even in a society where ethics and character are not required any more – even with presidents.
As always, God’s word, the Bible, has the answers. As the parts and service manual is to the repairman,
the Holy Scriptures is to any parent who would teach his children respect for himself.
Here is Ephesians 6.4 in two different translations:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:
but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (KJV)
Fathers, don’t make your children bitter about life.
Instead, bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction. (GWT)
The issue of making children bitter about life, is the matter of
…the overbearing or abusive parent who frustrates his child by never allowing him room for growth or
…it is also the parent who makes endless rules, then changes them as his own mood changes.
…it is the father or mother that yells, rather than communicates.