The important moral decision you may be facing right now could be a clear-cut choice between right and wrong. On the other hand, the answer may not be quite so obvious, and the temptation merely to follow the easiest path very strong.
How does one make a sound moral decision?
The Bible points the way. In his great message to the children of Israel after leading them through their forty years in the wilderness, Moses says, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and they seed may live.' n1 Moments earlier in the same address, the patriarch makes it plain that the way of life is "to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments" n2
n1 Deuteronomy 30:19.
n2 v. 16.
Doesn't this imply that moral choices should be made according to God's law?
God's law, in the deepest sense, defines man's very being. It includes the fact that man is not material. He is the vital expression of Truth, the glory of Life. Human existence needs to conform to Truth and Life, or God, and to find progressive freedom from the influence of the senses if it is to be truly forward-moving. Solid moral decisions lead us away from dependence on matter for satisfaction and toward a deeper trust in infinite Spirit. When we see choices in these terms they become clearer.
In my early twenties I was looking for a deeper understanding of God. At the same time I was smoking and drinking.
After a year or two I dropped the smoking, rejecting it as an unattractive and unsatisfying habit.
It was far more difficlt to stop the social drinking, however. I was swayed by the argument that there was no harm in taking liquor in moderate quantities. But still I was troubled. In some way that I couldn't quite define, I felt it conflicted with what I was learning of the true nature of God and man.
When I discussed this with a friend, she pointed out that alcohol appeals to and emphasizes the physical senses, and that drinking could only run counter to my sincere desire to grow in the comprehension of God and of His wholly good universe. Even if taken in only moderate form, she explained, liquor still represented a pull away from immortal consciousness and a push toward the poor substitute of sensual pleasure. And it opened the door to other temptations.
Put in this way, my choice was clear, and the uneasy feeling I had had previously gave way to a conviction of the right thing to do.
From that moment on I never used alcohol. Whereas before I had feared I would be considered odd or prudish, I now found it easy to ask for other kinds of drinks at family or social gatherings. Instead of being ridiculed, my stand won general respect.
But far more important were the joy and freedom that came with this release from a form of tyranny. In fact, richly rewarding experiences in my life and career date from the time of that decision.
Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes: "Between the centripetal and centrifugal mental forces of material and spiritual gravitations, we go into or we go out of materialism or sin, and choose our course and its results. Which, then, shall be our choice, -- the sinful, material, and perishable, or the spiritual, joy-giving, and eternal?" n4
n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 19.
The ability to make intelligent moral choices comes through the activity of the Christ in human consciousness. This Christ, which Jesus embodied, is an ever-present influence revealing divine Principle as the Father of man. It frees us from sin that leads to physical and moral death, and it opens the way to a more fulfilling life.
There is never a moment when we can't choose good. The opportunity is always present to stop floundering in materially based arguments and to set a straight course for God and His perfect creation.
We can always make the right choice!