Moral clarity and health
The basis on which we live our lives can be a stabilizing influence for everyone.
Not many people would have relinquished such a well-paying job when there were so many reasons to stay on. But a friend of mine did just that. Some would have seen it as a wonderful position that offered significant stability. But he saw a major issue on the horizon. In a word, it was a question of morality.
As our society moves toward more tolerance in arenas that were once considered morally questionable, some businesses are following. This is what was beginning to happen in the sports organization my friend worked for. Laws were changing to provide more opportunities for people to gamble. This organization was just the kind of business that might take advantage of this, opening its doors to accommodate and even welcome different kinds of gambling, including online betting.
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Could my friend be a part of what he felt held major moral implications not just for him but even more for society as a whole? In the end, he just couldn’t lend his talents in a direction that, for many, has led to addiction and other unhealthy habits and conditions, so he gave up his job.
People don’t always make a strong connection between morality and health, and by this I mean not only spiritual health but also financial, mental, emotional, and physical health. But my friend did.
Compassion can go a long way in fostering healing.
It’s been a couple of years since he resigned his position, but in that short time he has seen the blessings in taking this stand, not only for his community but for his family as well. He wrote to me about this experience, saying, “As the Bible states, ‘The God of heaven, he will prosper us’ (Nehemiah 2:20). We have certainly found that to be true in our situation, in ways we could not have imagined since making this decision.”
If we haven’t given thought to the relationship between health and morals—what we would define as the standards of behavior expressed in both the Ten Commandments and Christ Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount—this may be a time to do so. Emulating the moral and spiritual qualities Jesus expressed—such as love, compassion, forgiveness, charitableness, honesty, purity, faith, faithfulness to God, and doing unto others as we would have them do unto us (the Golden Rule for living that most religions have in common; see Matthew 7:12)—is the true measure of our morality.
We are all members of this large organization called society, and the kinds of positions we take and the basis on which we live our lives can be a stabilizing influence for everyone. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, once wrote, “Moral conditions will be found always harmonious and health-giving” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 125).
Could there be a connection between the health and harmony of our present society on the one hand and a decades-long shift in moral standards on the other? It would appear that there’s been a steady decay of moral ideals and even an aggressive effort to push them aside. But sooner or later, we find that they are a crucial protection to the overall health of every aspect of daily life and the well-being of society as a whole. For some, taking a moral stand may result in finally being able to get their bills paid each month. For others, it may mean gaining a feeling of being more physically or mentally sound and balanced. As we get moral clarity, we shelter ourselves from a lax moral climate in society, and our own well-being is strengthened. We’ll also be better fortified to heal spiritually ourselves and others—especially as we experience the revelation that everyone’s actual identity is spiritual instead of material.
Some individuals are dubious about taking “moral stands,” wondering if they too easily mask a judgmental attitude toward others. Perhaps that is sometimes the case. But it doesn’t need to be. I’ve seen occasions where compassion and a love for others were a driving force behind a decision.
Take the example of my friend on the gambling question. It seems to me that his decision had much more to do with a larger sense of caring for humanity as a whole than a narrow sense of judging the decisions of a relative few. Anyone who has helped those struggling with an addiction, such as gambling, drugs, or pornography, knows well that compassion can go a long way in fostering healing. Moral qualities are needed to heal moral voids.
Moral qualities are needed to heal moral voids.
Lived moral standards provide crucial stability in progress, both individually and collectively. Strong morals, when nurtured by a combination of humility and divine Love, give us the needed spiritual fiber to defend public health. Medical, media, legal, political, and especially, religious communities need to give thoughtful consideration to how they can encourage morality, not undermine it. Everyone has a stake in cherishing states of thought that will protect public health instead of compromising it. The author of Science and Health offers this warning: “From lack of moral strength empires fall” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 268).
When societal attitudes tend to make morality seem irrelevant, compassionate love can play a powerful role in reestablishing higher ideals. Consider, for example, the two blind men who sought Christ Jesus’ help. The Bible says, “Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him” (Matthew 20:34). Imagine that! Two men healed of blindness and the healing linked to the moral quality of compassion. Christ Jesus freed the sufferers by standing firmly on the side of Truth, by both deeply caring for God’s children and understanding their sinless, divine nature, which includes every health-giving moral and spiritual quality of God.
The Christ, or divine message from God, is always present in consciousness to remind us of those qualities inherent in us that nurture health and harmony—and calls on us to live them. We cannot bypass these moral qualities if we wish to heal and be healed and see society progress.
Each day we are in a position to take moral stands that benefit not only us but all humanity. Such spiritually inspired moral stands or ideals support the world’s spiritual growth and progress and protect us from health-invading immorality. As thought assimilates the pure consciousness of spiritually based morals, we will stop drifting away from these health-sheltering ideals, and our homes and communities will be strengthened and blessed.