Suggestion Six: Morality Never Really Goes Out of Style


   "How happy and prudent is he who tries now in life to be what he wants to be found in death. Perfect contempt of the world, a lively desire to advance in virtue, a love for discipline, the works of penance, readiness to obey, self-denial, and the endurance of every hardship for the love of Christ, these will give a man great expectations of a happy death."

        —-Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ.

   Occupy the moral high ground in all campaigns. Be there because you believe you are right, not because you think you are God.

   People who think they are God behave as though their rules for others apply only to others.

   People who think they are God behave in ways God would never sanction.

   The sinlessness of God includes this facet; to wit, God will not do wrong in the forlorn hope of producing some good result.

   In His best recorded temptation experience, Jesus the Christ is offered a chance to redeem all the nations of the earth if He will worship the adversary for a moment, entirely in private. The Christ refuses, citing the ancient Jewish injunction to worship God only.

   The Devil might have asked Jesus, on the mount, then, who His God was, if He was not in Heaven at the moment.

   I imagine Jesus saying, "I know this for certain. You are not God, nor anything like God."

   Even in those moments when you are not certain about God or where you fit with God, you can always know who is not God. You do not have to let uncertainty feed apostasy.

   Jesus understood His dying time, so He got what His life meant. He was not suicidal. He was committed.

   Jesus is remembered, reverenced, venerated. The file clerks who killed Him are rightly forgotten.

   A practical politician can sometimes get the consent of his listeners but, if he is only a pragmatist, he can never actually win their conviction. An equally expressive colleague can win them to their side with concessions, or with simple empathy. Conviction holds a person fast.

    To convince someone to change is useless. To help him discover he wants to change is durable.

    A moral person, finally, is neither a fool nor a file clerk. He is a man with a sense of vocation, or sacred calling. He is a teacher and a leader, so an agent of progressive change. His opposition will inform him on the matter of cost, while his circumstances will tell him when he must pay. For Lee, it was his commission and Appomattox. For Lincoln it was his family and Ford's Theater. For Jesus, it was all and Good Friday.

   Left unsaid is this; whatever is required and whenever it must be rendered up, the moral man steps up to pay. He inspires with heroism, energy and purity of purpose. He does not act until his righteous indignation burns itself to embers, for it anger does not motivate him, or greed. He sees wrong and wants to right it. He sees need and wishes to meet it.

   The moral man is not waiting for applause to tell him how to act, much less think.

   Morality is not transient.


3 thoughts on “Suggestion Six: Morality Never Really Goes Out of Style”

  1. “To convince someone to change is useless. To help him discover he wants to change is durable.”
    I’ve added this to my list.

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