Anchored by Timeless Values
ALL human societies espouse some moral code. Do you not agree that such qualities as honesty, kindness, compassion, and altruism are cherished around the globe and are appealing to most of us?
In the first century C.E., a well-educated man named Saul lived amid three influential value systems—the Jewish, the Greek, and the Roman. Besides the elaborate norms and laws imposed by those cultures, Saul discerned that humans in general are guided by an inherent moral sense. That is our conscience. After Saul became the Christian apostle Paul, he wrote: “Whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature [“by natural instinct,” The New Testament in Modern Speech] the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them.”—Romans 2:14, 15.
Is it enough, however, for us to be directed only “by natural instinct” when we try to decide what is right and what is wrong? As you may have observed, human history is studded with the failures of individuals and groups. This has convinced many that we need direction from a higher source in order to establish the best values by which to live. Many will acknowledge that mankind’s Maker is in the best position to offer such timeless standards. In his book The Undiscovered Self, Dr. Carl Jung observed: “The individual who is not anchored in God can offer no resistance on his own resources to the physical and moral blandishments of the world.”
That conclusion is in keeping with what an ancient prophet wrote: “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Our Creator says: “For your own good, I teach you, and I lead you along the right path.”—Isaiah 48:17, Contemporary English Version.
A Reliable Source of Trustworthy Values
The words just quoted are found in the most widely circulated source of moral values—the Holy Scriptures. Millions of people around the world, even non-Christians and nonreligious individuals, have turned to the Scriptures for insight and wisdom. German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: “For my part, I loved and revered [the Bible], because I owed almost my whole development in moral culture to it.” Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi is reported to have said: “By all means drink deep of the fountains that are given to you in the Sermon on the Mount [part of Jesus Christ’s teachings found in the Bible] . . . For the teaching of the Sermon was meant for each and every one of us.”
The apostle Paul, previously quoted, highlighted the important role the Holy Scriptures play in providing solid values: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Is that really so?
Why not see for yourself? Examine the principles listed on the next page. See the positive values they promote. Meditate on how the ideas included in these teachings have the power to improve the quality of your life and of your relationships with others.
Will You Benefit?
The principles listed are but a sampling of the practical counsel found in the Holy Scriptures. Besides these, God’s Word contains numerous warnings against harmful thoughts, speech, and deeds that could have a detrimental effect on our lives.—Proverbs 6:16-19.
Yes, the teachings of the Bible offer something that human society in general is sorely lacking—counsel enabling people to develop the best moral standards possible. Those who accept and apply these teachings undergo a significant transformation. Their way of thinking is changed for the better. (Ephesians 4:23, 24) Their motives are improved. Learning God’s values as expressed in the Bible has helped many to root out of their hearts racism, prejudice, and hatred. (Hebrews 4:12) The Scriptures and the values they promote have moved people to renounce all kinds of violence and vice and to become better people.
Yes, the Bible’s values have helped millions to overcome deeply entrenched habits and practices like those that have ruined the lives of others. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Bible teachings have been changing such individuals—not just their habits but their hearts, their hopes, their households. No matter how much the world deteriorates, people around the globe continue to change for the better. And this is not going to stop. “The green grass has dried up, the blossom has withered; but as for the word of our God, it will last to time indefinite.”—Isaiah 40:8.
However, will you personally benefit from “the word of our God”? Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to show you how to embrace the Bible’s values to your benefit. Living in harmony with such values will mean gaining God’s approval now and will lead to a lasting life governed by divine, timeless principles.
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The Golden Rule. “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them; this, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.”—Matthew 7:12.
Respect and honor others. “In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another take the lead.”—Romans 12:10.
Pursue peace. “Keep peace between one another.” (Mark 9:50) “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.” (Romans 12:18) “Let us pursue the things making for peace.”—Romans 14:19.
Be loyal, faithful. “Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone. . . . Be happy with your wife and find your joy with the girl you married . . . Let her charms keep you happy; let her surround you with her love. . . . Why should you give your love to another woman? Why should you prefer the charms of another man’s wife?” (Proverbs 5:15-20, Today’s English Version) “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10) “What is looked for in stewards is for a man to be found faithful.”—1 Corinthians 4:2.
Be honest. “Can I be morally clean with wicked scales and with a bag of deceptive stone weights?” (Micah 6:11) “We trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.”—Hebrews 13:18.
Be truthful, fair. “Hate what is bad, and love what is good, and give justice a place in the gate.” (Amos 5:15) “Speak truthfully with one another. With truth and the judgment of peace do your judging in your gates.” (Zechariah 8:16) “Now that you have put away falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor.”—Ephesians 4:25.
Be industrious, diligent. “Have you beheld a man skillful in his work? Before kings is where he will station himself.” (Proverbs 22:29) “Do not loiter at your business.” (Romans 12:11) “Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men.”—Colossians 3:23.
Be mild, compassionate, kind. “Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering.”—Colossians 3:12.
Conquer evil with good. “Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you.” (Matthew 5:44) “Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.”—Romans 12:21.
Give God your best. “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.”—Matthew 22:37, 38.
Embracing the Bible’s values can help us enjoy successful marriages, happy family relationships, and fulfilling friendships