Respect for conscience

Respect for one another and for our shared environment makes living together—whether in the same house, in the same community, or on the same planet—more enjoyable and more productive. And mutual respect opens the way for us to get down to the serious business of listening to each other and working together to solve our mutual problems. Yet one of the most important places to begin is in gaining respect for one's own conscience—the inner urging to be good and do what is right.

Each of us has ample opportunity every day to be more responsive to conscience. And it's not hard to imagine how much good could be accomplished if we each would heed our conscience consistently. One instance comes to mind from my teenage years. I had been invited by friends to spend the day on their boat on beautiful Lake Minnetonka, not far from my home near Minneapolis. When I looked for a place to dispose of the wrappers from my chewing gum, I was told just to toss them into the lake. I did, and it troubled me. I couldn't help thinking what would happen over a course of time if people kept throwing even little bits of trash into the lake. Today—now that "pollution" is a common concern— that small incident serves to remind me how important it is to listen to the voice of conscience and pay heed to it in my daily conduct.

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April 19, 1993
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