Hope As A Character Trait (Roberts)

This is one of those books that I’ve underlined or highlighted parts of almost every page: Spiritual Emotions: A Psychology of Christian Virtues. It’s a discussion of how Christian ethics and emotions overlap and relate. I’ll come back to the book again, no doubt. For now, here’s a nice note on Christian hope – it’s a good topic for us to think about today! Think about this for awhile:

Real spiritual hope is not a matter of feeling hopeful now and then, when circumstances are looking up, even if the thought that goes with that hope is that we are due to share the glory of God. It is not real, spiritual hope if, for example, you feel it only in church, with the help of the vaulted ceiling, the unctuous preaching of Easter, and the resounding chords of “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” The hope needs to be a character trait, and a character trait has to be characterized by “endurance” [Rom. 5:1-5] – by the ability to feel the emotion even in situations that don’t seem very propitious for it. This feature of the apostles’ spirituality was evident in their ability to rejoice even when, by worldly standards, things were going rather badly for them; they were not easily discouraged. And Paul suggests that Christians are (or should be) reflective enough about spiritual development to know that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and thus to rejoice in their sufferings on that account as well.

Robert C. Roberts, Spiritual Emotions, p. 17.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015