Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

May I Walk with You? MORAL CONFUSION

Recently, I’ve been talking about morality with some people who are confused. They tell me that the advice they get depends on the educated opinion of the person they are seeking advice from. They complained that even ministers, clergy, offer differing opinions. Some have become clergy shoppers in an effort to find a guide who agrees with them. It reminds me of people who shop for doctors in hopes of finding one who they like. I have no misgivings about people who seek professional help from other professionals. After all, we are consumers of legal, medical, and professional advice from a number of people. We are expected to shop for good advice. It is prudent to do so.
However, many of us want to live holy, moral lives. Often, we have questions about sexuality, financial issues, relationships, God’s will, what is sinful and what is not. It would be wonderful if all the experts were on the same page, but they are not. What we are left with is a deep confusion that leads us to having to discern for ourselves moral issues. The thinking goes like this, “I asked several clergy, friends, and family members about moral issues and they all had different answers. So, I guess I may do whatever I want. What difference does it make?” While not abdicating the moral responsibility for our behavior, I think there are some places you can investigate that will help make moral decisions.
In making moral decisions, the Bible is a good place to start. Just considering the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mounts and other teachings of Jesus, and the New Testament Letters help us to frame our thoughts. Another source is the clergy who have had, hopefully, good training in morality. Another source is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which has a section on morality and offers sound religious teaching about appropriate behavior.
I try to live a moral life, not just because I want to go to heaven and avoid hell, , but I think that living a moral life leads to greater happiness in this present life, too. There are times when I read the Bible to get guidance. Other times I sought the advice of a trusted minister/pastor. I was also consult the Catechism, and I rely on just plain common sense when discerning moral behavior. I have a few close friends that help me, especially my wife. While I don’t blindly follow all the advice, I am educated so that I can make the best possible choice, and not do something impulsively, foolishly, or selfishly. The best reason for living a moral life is that it is wonderfully pleasing to the God who loves me. It is how I can love him in return for all he has done and given to me. As they say in AA, “The best revenge is to live a good life. The best amends is live a good life.”
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you, be gracious to you and give you his peace.”

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