Ethicalness (September 26)


“Ethical living is the indispensable condition of all that is most worthwhile in the world” (Ernest Caldecott).

IF WE WISH TO ENJOY THE GOOD LIFE, ETHICALNESS IS NOT AN OPTION; IT’S A REQUIREMENT. If we don’t discipline ourselves and subordinate our impulses to ethical principles, then our life is nothing more than a sandcastle that will be destroyed by the next high tide.

Ethicalness benefits us personally. A few years ago, I wrote a book on the importance of taking God seriously. A radio show producer who was considering having me on her program asked what benefit my book would offer her listeners. “Just the benefit,” I said, “of going to bed at night knowing that you’ve done what’s right about the biggest issue in life.” There are many subsidiary benefits of doing what’s right, but in the end, doing what’s right is right because it’s right.

Ethicalness benefits our families. If you’d like to give your family a remarkable gift but you can’t think of anything to give them, may I suggest this: begin living in such a way that every member of your family can count on you to do the honorable thing, no matter what. You will be amazed how much your family will appreciate that gift.

Ethicalness benefits society. If you will live a life of personal integrity, your community will also appreciate it. Indeed, if you’re interested in “community service,” there is no greater service you can render than ethical citizenship, doing whatever is right toward those around you. When you’re gone, you’ll be remembered as a person who could be trusted — and there aren’t many better ways to be remembered.

We frequently hear it said these days that there is no such thing as objective right and wrong and that such things are purely personal. But no one really believes that. If there were nothing more to ethics than subjective opinion and personal preference, society would soon disintegrate, and the fact that everybody still uses words like “should” and “ought” indicates that we know there are some universally binding rules. For ethical standards to be any good, they have to be binding on everybody. The sooner we admit that fact and start submitting to those standards, the better our quality of life will be.

“There is only one ethics, one set of rules of morality, one code: that of individual behavior in which the same rules apply to everyone alike” (Peter Drucker).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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