Principles (January 3)


“There are principles that govern human effectiveness — natural laws in the human dimension that are just as real, just as unchanging and unarguably “there” as laws such as gravity are in the physical dimension” (Stephen R. Covey).

AS WE GROW IN WISDOM, WE COME TO SEE THE VALUE OF LIVING A PRINCIPLED LIFE. Indeed, the worth of the contribution we make as we live in the world depends upon the faithfulness with which we adhere to true principles. Positive contributions are not made by those governed by moods and trends, but rather by those guided by integrity to proven principles.

Principles are the precepts of honor and effectiveness in human conduct. Analogous to the laws by which the physical cosmos is ordered, principles are the laws by which the moral universe is ordered. They have been known by the wise in all cultures throughout time, and their truth and value have been borne out in the experience of every person since the human race began. “Honesty” is a principle. “Kindness” is another. “Courage” is yet another. The list of principles is long, but it is not mysterious or hard to come by. Each of us carries it within our conscience. Somewhere deep down, we know what is right, and we know what will be effective in the long run.

Principles are permanent. The laws of right and effective conduct do not change. They are inherent in the nature of reality. Civilizations may rise and fall, but there will never come an age when things like “thankfulness” and “unselfishness” have lost their value. The laws of moral conduct are no more apt to be altered than the laws of physics.

Principles are dependable. Because they are unchangeable, principles can be counted on. They are stable, trustworthy guidelines for our conduct. “If one can be certain that his principles are right, he need not worry about the consequences” (Robert Elliott Speer). Without knowing the future, we can act with integrity to principles and have confidence that our actions will lead us in exactly the right direction.

Such dependability is extremely important in our uncertain world. We desperately need more security than is provided by the fads and fashions of pop culture. It’s a dangerous world that we live in — too dangerous to trust anything less than permanent principles.

“If the roots are deep, have no fear that the wind will uproot the tree” (Chinese Proverb).

Gary Henry –