How Earnest Are You About Morals?
THAT is a question that every right-minded person could well ask himself, especially in these days. Look where you will in business, in industry, among the professions, in government and you find that the lack of morals is appalling. Unless you are on guard you can easily be influenced by this trend.
Typical is the gross and widespread police corruption revealed by New York city’s Knapp investigating committee during October 1971. At one hearing a former policeman charged that in one precinct of seventy policemen there were only two honest cops, only two that refused bribes. At another one of the hearings the charge was made that the police themselves traffic in narcotics, that $7,000,000 worth of such drugs disappeared after being taken in police raids, the officers themselves selling it. And so the sordid revelations went on day after day. According to some observers, it was no longer a case of just one rotten apple in a barrel that was likely to spoil others but of ever so many apples being bad.
It may be asked, What else is to be expected? As former New York city Councilman Earl Brown wrote in the New York Times, November 2, 1971, “The problem is not police corruption but a lawless society. . . . To demand that the cop on the beat . . . be incorruptible is to demand more than others are willing to live up to. When Americans demand law and order they mean it for somebody else, not themselves. The well-to-do middle-class parent that offers a policeman a bribe not to arrest his son . . . ignores the fact that he is committing a crime. . . . How can anyone expect the cops to be incorruptible” when so many other people are corrupt?
But is there not a sizable portion of the populace of almost every country, and especially among the younger generation, who profess to take morals seriously? Yes, they do profess to be righteously indignant over what might be termed major issues of morality or wrongs—the injustice of war, the injustices caused by racial discrimination, and the exploitation of workers.
Yet, how many of these protesters against injustices are truly consistent when it comes to personal morals? Apparently few indeed. For as headmaster Barr of the Dalton Schools observed, these profess to adhere to a “macro-morality,” one that involves big issues; but they are wholly indifferent when it comes to “micro” or personal morality. Most inconsistently, they manifest no qualms of conscience when it comes to cheating in school tests, stealing, lying, being cruel to their parents or destroying the property of others.
Helping to make matters worse are many of the clergymen of Christendom, especially the modern or “liberal” ones. They have long winked at immoral conduct on the part of their parishioners, and now many of them even approve of conduct that is categorically and unequivocally condemned and forbidden in God’s Word, the Bible, such as premarital sex relations and homosexuality.—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
True, the Bible is considered out-of-date by many, but has modern man improved his lot by discarding the principles laid down in the Bible? Are not crime and violence rampant as never before? Would this be the case if people heeded the Bible principle to ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’? (Luke 6:31) And would there be a pandemic of venereal diseases, would rapes and illegitimate births be increasing by leaps and bounds if the Bible principles were followed, limiting sexual intercourse to persons duly married to each other?—1 Cor. 7:1, 2.
Not to take morals earnestly is to stamp one as a fool, yes, as even mad, according to the Bible, the Word of God. Thus we read: “To a fool it is like sport to do wrong.” “Like a madman who hurls deadly firebrands and arrows is he who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘Was I not joking?’”—Prov. 10:23; 26:18, 19, An American Translation.
Morals are no sport, they are not to be considered as a mere joking matter. They are to be taken in earnest. That is why God’s Word commands us not only to love and to do what is right but also to hate and abhor what is bad. To safeguard yourself as regards morals you must fortify yourself both positively and negatively, as it were, by loving and clinging to what is good and by hating and avoiding what is bad. “Hate what is bad,” and “abhor what is wicked, cling to what is good,” God’s Word tells us.—Ps. 97:10; Rom. 12:9.
To be in earnest about morals is the course of wisdom. It is the course with the least, if any, regrets. We cannot escape it. If we are careless, as when toying with sexual immorality, we lose our self-respect and will be plagued with a guilty conscience. Persons with a bad conscience ‘flee even though there is no one pursuing them, but the righteous are as confident as a young lion’ the inspired proverb says.—Prov. 28:1.
To help you to be in earnest about morals, make it a habit to read the Holy Bible, God’s Word, daily. It will furnish you with guidance, enlightenment and strength to take the right course and enable you to avoid the wrong. It sums up man’s requirements: “What is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?” To exercise justice means ‘to do to others as you would have them do to you.’ And helping to motivate you to that end is the principle: “The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Mic. 6:8; Luke 6:31; Rom. 6:23.
There is no mistaking it: If we want to be pleasing to our Creator, if we want to do that which is right by our fellowman, if we want to take the course that in the long run is the most rewarding, then we must take morals seriously. “Whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.”—Gal. 6:7.