The javelin, the greenhouse, and ethics lessons

Originally appeared on

The Bible talks about “putting off the old man” (Col. 3:9, 10, King James Version,) or getting rid of your “old way of life and its habits” (New International Readers Version). What a freeing concept! Who wants to carry around an old, outmoded self just because it seems easier than donning change? The past can be like a “ball and a chain,” as an old blues song by Janis Joplin puts it, and we often end up dragging it behind us like a child dragging their safety blanket around the house. 

There came a time when I dropped “the old man” in favor of a more spiritualized life, or “the new man.” Moral and ethical ambiguities cleared up through my study of Christian Science. As I gained a higher, more spiritual concept of myself, a clean-living and honest approach to life took root in me. And I began to set things right.

When I was in high school and college, the baggage of “the old man” seemed very woven into who I was. I thought of myself as someone who did what was right, told the truth, and was responsible, but my sense of right and wrong somehow had morphed into an “it’s-no-big-deal” moral numbness. This especially pertained to how I treated others’ property.

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