Making moral decisions

Moral decisions have consequences. Sometimes they are large, as illustrated by a long-ago acquaintance who, by honoring a solemn promise in the face of a strong temptation to do otherwise, was saved from traveling on the Titanic. While not always so dramatic, the consequence of correct moral decision-making is always to bring us closer to God and to exempt us from the untoward effects of disobedience.

Many teenagers and young adults—and many others as well—face the moral choice of whether to live a more permissive lifestyle. Of whether, in particular, to drink, smoke, or engage in pre- or extramarital sex.

When it comes to temptation, choosing abstinence is always better than indulgence. But the real issue to be considered—the issue that puts our obedience to the moral law on the firmest foundation—is the motive behind abstinence. It’s not just what we are giving up but what we’re striving toward that matters. It’s not just forswearing a drink that matters. It’s also what that forswearing represents. And what it should represent is a determination to remove any obstacle, any dependency, that would diminish our reliance on God or our dedication to the business of spiritual growth. What we’re giving up should be any reliance on matter to gain social acceptance or to compensate for any feelings of inadequacy on which advertisers of tobacco, e-cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages seek to capitalize.

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Character matters
November 4, 2019

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