“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
— Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of US (1809 – 1865)
The greatest challenge to a leader is not just withstanding calamity, but what happens afterwards, when the rainbow comes after the rain. Long periods of suffering can instill humility in a person’s character, but it can also accumulate much bitterness and manifest itself in behaviors that shout to the world, when one is finally endowed with power and given honor and praise: “I deserve it!”
Therefore, Martin Luther believed character formation is not going from vice to virtue, but from vice and virtue to grace. Living on grace daily is the only remedy to our pretentious inclinations.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)