I spent Saturday morning with about eight other friends and acquaintances, hunting deer. My mood was still melancholy because of the unseasonably warm weather, but the company and camaraderie made up for it. Our group was made up of the young and old, the experienced and the novice, and those who just came along for the ride. There was only one doe taken that day, but we agreed to gather up again in a few days to do it all again. The next trip may include an overnight stay at the house that's on the property, along with a big campfire, and perhaps some fresh tenderloin. It sounds like my kind of hunting trip. Many hunters like to go on these overnight stays. Around here our Wildlife Management Area is about an hour away, but it allows those who are drawn to come and stay at their campground while hunting. For most of us, this is as much fun as the hunt itself - just hanging out with the guys. What I have noticed, however, over the years is the tendency some have to try too hard to be a part of the group. Their effort shows up usually by finding what they perceive to be a common punching bag. It may involve politics, religion, or even race. They think if they can bash a group or people they'll be accepted. To me, it's just a sign of immaturity and ignorance. And it also shows the insecurities of those who have to find something or someone to tear down in order to, somehow, make themselves look good. It makes me sick. A wise man once said, "Reputation is what man thinks you are. Character is what God knows you are." Our character is who we are when no one is looking. And our character must be built not on traditions and on a bad experience, but on the truth of the scriptures. Now this little column that I do will go out to many publications in several states. It will be read by probably more than a few people. And just in case anybody wonders where I stand, let me tell you...I believe I'm a better person than my enemies think I am, and a worse person than my friends think. I believe bad people, at times, do good things, and good people, at times, do bad things. I believe anything I am or I have is only by the grace of God and not by any merit of my own. I believe God loves everyone. As we used to sing as a child, "Red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight." And if they are precious in his sight, they will be precious in my sight as well. And lastly, I believe given a few minutes around a campfire, most people will reveal what they're really like at home.