Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us THE SOURCE.
As soon as I saw this prompt, I knew I just had to respond. As I was growing up, my moral compass was set by my parents. Some of those morals were good ones…
- Work hard to earn everything you get in life
- When you have children, spend time with them and take them with you when you go out to dinner and on vacations
- Don’t steal
- Always do your best at everything you do
Other moral values they taught me were bad ones…
- Prejudice – you cannot be friends with someone from another race and interracial marriage was the unpardonable sin
- You must lie in order to protect yourself
- Don’t address important issues such as abuse — instead, pretend it didn’t happen
- Don’t confide in anyone about what went on at home and don’t seek help, or you will destroy the family
My moral and my philosophical worldview changed when I came to know Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, personally. He didn’t give me a lot of rules to follow, like some people may think. Instead, He gave me two laws to follow, and He said that if I would obey these two laws, then everything else would fall into place, and He was right. I try to keep those two laws in the forefront of my mind, so that I can walk in obedience to Him…
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
~ Matthew 22:37-40 — NLT ~
Do you see that? If I will just love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, everything else will fall into place, because when you’re totally and completely head over heels in love with someone, you want to do everything you can to please him/her. It’s only natural for us to behave that way.
I remember when I fell in love with my husband almost thirty-three years ago. I quickly learned the things he liked and the things he didn’t like, and there were many times that I skipped doing something that I might have enjoyed more, because I wanted to please him. Likewise, because he loved me, there were many times that he skipped doing something that he would have enjoyed more, in order to please me.
Likewise, because He loved me so much, Jesus allowed the Priests, the Scribes and the Pharisees to arrest Him and beat Him and falsely accuse Him, without even arguing that He had been framed. And then, He allowed them to take Him before Herod, an evil and cruel king, who then sent Jesus to Pontius Pilate, a Roman Procurator, who sent Him to be savagely whipped by Roman guards, all for the sake of His love for mankind…
Then, because of His great love for every single man, woman and child who had ever been born, and who ever would be born, (that includes you and me), He endured the shame of carrying the cross, upon which He would soon die, through the streets of Jerusalem. But His great love for us didn’t end there, because after being tried by a lynch mob in a mockery of a trial, and after enduring the gory beating by the Roman soldiers, after being forced to wear a crown of thorns, which pierced His brow, while the crowd cruelly mocked Him. He then carried a horrible ugly cross on the road to the hill of Golgotha (the place of suffering). When He arrived on that terrible hill, He laid down on that cross, and allowed the soldiers to nail his hands and His feet to the cross so that He could pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind…
It is for Jesus, the Son of the living God, that I live, and move and have my being. He didn’t have a bunch of rules and laws that He expected us to follow, while He lived another way, like many leaders and lawmakers, both past and present, throughout the world do. Instead, He set the example for us…
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
~ Philippians 2:3-8 — NLT ~
How do I deal with those who don’t share my moral values? I love them and I pray for them. How can I do anything else? Jesus loved me before I ever loved Him or even thought about loving Him. He loved me when I had immoral values. He loved me when I was lost in sin…
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
~ Romans 5:8 — NLT ~
If Jesus loved me while I still a sinner, and He loves all other sinners too, then how can I do anything less? It doesn’t matter if their immoral values come from their families or from some other religion, people are still people, and since Jesus, the love of my life, loves all people, so do I.
Now, because I love those people, I will speak the truth to them in love. If I can’t share my faith with a loving attitude toward the people I am sharing it with, then I have no business speaking. If I don’t like/love the person I want to share my faith with, then my words are pointless. They are nothing more than noise that should be silenced.
I was a prison minister for almost ten years, and the majority of the women I ministered to had completely different morals than I. Now, if I had gone into that prison with a contemptuous attitude toward those women, I wouldn’t have accomplished anything. Instead, when I walked into the jail house, I asked Jesus to let me see the women as He saw them, and I asked Him to let me love them as He loved them.
Now don’t think I didn’t address various moral issues, including stealing, fornication, adultery, substance abuse and homosexuality, because I did. But as I said earlier, I spoke the truth to the women in love. Sin kills people, and I don’t want to see people dying in their own sin, because I love them. Therefore, though I cry out against sin from the highest mountain, I will love the people who commit those sins, because sin is like a cancer that wraps its evilness around people’s hearts, poisoning them to death. It is like a slave owner, bent on using the person who is enslaved by sin, until he/she is completely destroyed.
20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 6:20-23 — NLT ~
I need to share just one more thing with you, my beloved reader. Jesus didn’t choose me because I was already righteous or because I had already gotten myself together. I became righteous after He chose me and covered me with His righteousness, and He doesn’t love me anymore than He loves anyone else, because He isn’t interested in a person’s social status. He loves every single man, woman and child equally. Imagine that — He loves you and me equally, along with the President of the United States as well!
May God bless you!
Cheryl A. Showers