Why have so many set aside a high moral standard for the attitude ''Do what you want''? Not too long ago a newspaper editorial commented that ''basically what happened is that the new morality of big cities . . . was imposed on the rest of the country by movies, TV, magazines, advertising, music, novelists, playwrights and, through default, by organized religion.n1
n1 The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 1984
When we hear about an illicit relationship between a man and a woman - or about any other departure from the highest moral standard - we can pray, instead of simply assuming, ''That's the way it is these days.'' We can be spiritually concerned and expect God's purifying influence to penetrate immorality. The Psalmist sang, ''The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.''n 2
n 2 Psalms 138:8
Widespread immorality doesn't set aside forever the innate righteousness that is within every individual's consciousness. God is universal Principle and Love, and man is God's offspring, His manifestation. Because this is the truth of being, the spiritual reality indicated in the Bible, every man and woman can express God's goodness. When we pray to see Principle and Love as the one real motivating power, we are helping to heal immorality.
Material-mindedness is never permanent, as we learn from great Bible figures such as Jacob, Moses, David, Paul. They all moved forward to a higher standpoint. Even when immorality is socially acceptable, that doesn't mean the individuals involved have the kind of life they really want or find satisfying. Often living together in an illicit way is a retreat from a former unhappy relationship or is a failure to deal with the present need for character development. ''Living together'' indicates that couples are settling for temporary pleasure instead of working for genuine, spiritually based progress. Yet spiritual development and God-given dominion are within everyone's reach. Each one can come to know the source of his life, which is God, Principle and Love.
Relationships based only on emotional ties and sex can quickly be broken by either party. It's not usually easy for those who have weathered the ups and downs of a longtime marriage to restrain negative reactions toward those who aren't willing to take legal steps and make firm promises. Yet frustration and self-righteousness don't help. Prayers do help. Realizing that the spiritual power of God and His Christ is always active, even where it appears absent, can quiet our own thought and be a healing influence blessing others. These words of Mary Baker Eddy n3 to The Christian Science Board of Lectureship can be helpful to us all: ''You may condemn evil in the abstract without harming any one or your own moral sense, but condemn persons seldom, if ever. Improve every opportunity to correct sin through your own perfectness.''n4
n3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 The First Church ofChrist, Scientist, and Miscellany, p.249.
Christ Jesus showed us the attitude to take toward sexual license when he was among a callous crowd about to stone a woman caught committing adultery. He said , ''He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.'' Then the accusers left, and Jesus said to the woman, ''Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.'' 5
We can bring Christly vision to our community. We can actively support the righteousness within ourselves and others. Deepening sensuality and the complications of an unstable life punish those who continue in a morally misguided life style. A stand for God-inspired morality must start with those who are willing to pray and to act on the impulses of divine Principle and Love - willing to prove, in a large measure, that evil has no hold on them.
Yielding to God's righteousness in our thoughts and acts results in wise communication and helpful action. It promotes the intelligent companionship so essential to stable friendship, marriage, business and community relationships. Living in harmony with the Ten Commandments and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount enables us to respect the real, spiritual nature of ourselves and all, and to help bring it to light.
Principle, God, is always present. The material-mindedness that promotes sexual liberty is not from God, intelligence, so it's not true or lasting. In proportion as we honor God and His man, in that proportion human relationships become stronger and higher. God-derived thought and action deprive sin of a sinner and therefore of any existence. What we need to do, what everyone ultimately needs to do, is to yield to Principle, to divine Love, and thus let the harmony of divine law uplift and bless mankind. DAILY BIBLE VERSE He that walketh uprightly walketh surely.