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The moral compass

September 25, 2023

Last Friday I was invited to speak at the Celebrate Recovery Group at Yosemite Church. 80-100 people were there, supporting each other as they worked through their addictions and recovery. What a ‘real’ group of people! They are holding each other accountable, helping each other through the recovery process and learning to live a free life. As part of their group practice they read the 12 NA/AA steps and the Biblical Scriptures that go along with them together out loud. What a great way to create a good compass to live by. What if all of our gathering places would start out with an honest inventory of our imperfections and struggles and where we could acknowledge that we don’t have our life in order? Would that not create a better starting point for everything?

Last night I started reading the old classic book “The Moral Compass” by William Bennett. The author created a compilation of stories that many people over 50 might be familiar with, and shares how these stories taught children a direction.

He starts out saying that our moral compass first starts in our homes, in what parents teach their children. The home should be the first training ground, the place where we can come to know right from wrong through nurturing and protective care of those who love us. “Our character takes shape under the guidance of the dos and don’ts around the home.”

There are so many pressures parents are facing these days, so many things that need attention Sometimes it might be difficult to have to determine what the most important part is. Making enough money to have a place to live and food on the table just name one. But my question to parents is also: is your home a place where you instill a moral compass for your child?

But it goes beyond that. While our initial moral compass is shaped in the home, it is also shaped by what we watch, who do we associate with, what feeds our minds. GIGO is the old saying “garbage in garbage out”. I see a lack of accountability everywhere. From parents who struggle to find a balance, to leaders not living up to the standards of their role, to politicians using their position to lead as a way to get rich.

What if we take an honest inventory of ourselves, recognize we don’t have it all together, search and learn about a moral compass that we can live by and then practice it. Would our world be a better place if we knew what really matters and live into that?

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