November 30, 2018 Brethren Letter
Mr. Armstrong wrote the following about “righteous character” in his book, The Incredible Human Potential (page 38).
Perfect, holy and righteous character is the ability in such separate entity to come to discern the true and right way from the false, to make voluntarily a full and unconditional surrender to God and His perfect way — to yield to be conquered by God – to determine even against temptation or self-desire, to live and to do the right. And even then such holy character is the gift of God. It comes by yielding to God to instill HIS LAW (God’s right way of life) within the entity who so decides and wills.
Actually, this perfect character comes only from God, as instilled within the entity of His creation, upon voluntary acquiescence, even after severe trial and test.
God wants each of us to grow in GODLY character through His Holy Spirit. In I Peter 1:7 we find, “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”
This evening I was reading a Plain Truth, “Personal”. Mr. Armstrong had written about the loss of his teenage granddaughter in the 1960’s, and the beautiful (human) character which she had developed before her death.
The time will come when she too will be given the opportunity to grow in God’s character when she is resurrected. We have that opportunity today!
Here are some excerpts from Mr. Armstrong’s “Personal.”
Have a wonderful Sabbath!
Your Brother in Christ,
The Plain Truth
Personal from the Editor
I HAVE JUST COME from the funeral of one of our granddaughters whom Mrs. Armstrong and I loved very much. This particular granddaughter was very special to us, because of circumstances under which she was born, which resulted in a partial handicap through life.
I always called her my “Princess.” Her name was Carole Ann Mattson. At birth she weighed only three pounds and five ounces — which dropped to an even three pounds before she began to add weight. She could not have survived had she not been kept in an incubator for seven-and-a-half weeks. …
My little “Princess” lived long enough to build a beautiful character. She set a splendid example for her younger sister and brother. She had a good, sound and sensible mind. She acquired a splendid attitude — a right spirit — that survives death, and will still be hers in the resurrection. She lived to be seventeen and a half. But, “as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall ALL be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22) — the SAME ALL who die. In the very next second of her consciousness, Carole will awaken in a resurrection.
There is just ONE THING we can TAKE WITH US when we die — a RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER! Any money we accumulate, property, material goods — all these we must leave behind. There’s the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.” But you CAN take with you a right CHARACTER if you build one — and, after all, that is the VERY PURPOSE of this life. A beautiful and fine CHARACTER is worth more than all the money in the world. THAT is “the TRUE riches.” A girl like Carole has not lived in vain — and she shall live again!
I said she set a splendid example for her younger sister and brother. I think she did much more. In a letter she wrote to her Daddy and Mom, as she called them, she set a splendid example for thousands of children of those who will read this column, for I’m going to reprint that letter here. It was dated September 1, 1965. She was sixteen and a half.
She had been reprimanded for being cross and “bossy” with her younger children. The offense was not as serious as her letter indicates, but the important thing is that she took it seriously when it was called to her attention. How many of you “teen-agers” who read this column would write such a letter? Here is her letter:
September 1, 1965
Dearest Mom and Daddy,
Not before today did I REALLY know how I have treated you both. I am very ashamed of myself, and I don’t expect you to forgive me for all the years I have caused you needless pain. It seems to me now that I have totally wasted your time.
Well, I’m going to try to make up for it all. I feel very terrible and I wish I could live over those lost years you spent trying to teach me some good behavior. From now on I’m going to act my age and help out as much as I can. I’m not going to quarrel with the kids and I will remember what you have always said to me, If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
From now on I will also be neat and clean and wipe out my bossiness towards others.
Maybe someday, and soon I hope, you will be proud of me, as you have been at times, when I was good.
My grades in school will go up this year too, and my new school clothes, as well as my old ones, will stay neat and where they belong. I truly hope you can see an improvement in me soon. I think you are both the most wonderful and understanding parents ANY CHILD ever could have. I love you and I’ll prove it!
Love, your daughter,
And Carole DID PROVE IT! I have always been astonished at her sensible and understanding mind. I think you can understand why Mrs. Armstrong and I, as well as her parents and brother and sister, loved her.
There is a big empty spot in the Mattson home now. The “Princess” is no longer there. But, though of course we grieve, we “SORROW NOT, AS OTHERS WHICH HAVE NO HOPE” (I Thes. 4:13-18).
We’re grateful for the life she had — we look forward in anticipation. We shall see her again!