- by Pat McDonough

I was riding home from Choir practice last night, listening to CBC Radio. The topic of the program was our human tendency to accept and live comfortably with moral compromise. After listening for a few minutes, I turned the radio off. For me, that is a certain indication that what I am listening to is making me feel uncomfortable. So, I turned the radio back on and I listened to the complete program. It got me thinking about my own ability to live in contentment with various moral compromises - until someone or something calls me out on it.

To be clear, moral compromises are different from the accommodations we make to get along with others in society. To give the gift of time or talent or resources to help someone else may at times feel like a sacrifice of self...but it's not a compromise of moral living. Sacrifices of this nature are the foundation of a good life.

I'm probably a lot like many of you. The moral compromises that I live with cover a full range of minor inconsistencies to major lapses of judgment and character. For instance, I'm quick to ignore or forget my impact on climate change...I'm a fair-weather environmentalist. I am easily drawn in by a "good deal", by which I mean that I tend to focus more on price than considering whether the value of the labour that went into the making of things gets shared equitably.

At any given time, I pay lip service to the moral teachings that are part of my profession of faith as a disciple. There are times when I read the book of Proverbs in the Bible, that I feel the authors were writing with me in mind: "To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord. Stupid people have no respect for wisdom and refuse to learn. My child, learn what I teach you and never forget what I tell you to do. Listen to what is wise and try to understand it. Yes, beg for knowledge, plead for insight. Look for it as hard as you would for silver or some hidden treasure."

Living without moral compromise might be a nearly impossible task, but I think it's part of what I understand as my journey. For me it's not a straight path, it's more a wandering trail comprised of faith, doubt, trial and error. Some parts of it I'll get right, other parts I will screw up or completely fail at. Sometimes all I will be able to do is to keep moving towards the Light.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay




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