Six Ways to Stay Strong When Folks Mock Your Moral Values
These days, it is common to discuss morality with reference to global issues: environmental pollution, child labor, product research on animals, and similar worthy topics. However, this article begs to consider basic, everyday morality--the old-fashioned concept of choosing to do the right thing, based on a prescribed standard of conduct (which for many of us is extracted from Scripture).
Basic moral values like politeness, honesty, kindness, fairness, and self-control are demonstrated through self-respect, respect for others, and responsibility in meeting obligations. Sometimes, though, shortcuts or detours from these principles are created when everyday conflicts between right and wrong become overwhelming.
Below are six suggestions to help both the youthful and the mature stay strong in the midst of hostile pressure from folks who no longer care about the premise for moral values.
Do you believe that the values in the Ten Commandments are still relevant?
Who are the folks who mock moral values?
Our society accepts certain forms of behavior as moral and beneficial to individuals and their communities. An easy list (not all-inclusive) can be formed by revisiting the Ten Commandments previously taught in schools and is still a part of religious instructions.
The table below lists the summary of those morals along with the list of moral scoffers and offenders.
Honor, reverence and worship for God and His Sovereignty
People who disrespect God, His worship and His Sovereignty
Respect for His Name and His Sabbath
All, including media personnel, who make fun of His Name and His Word
Respect for parents and their authority
Those who mock parental authority
Respect for the sacredness of life
Those who show disrespect for life by ending it just because they can
Fidelity in marriage
Those who cheat
Honesty, absence of slander and greed in interaction with others
People who refer to these values as outdated and irrelevant
(1) Focus on Purpose
Knowing the reason for living by moral principles will help practitioners anticipate the positive rewards:
- satisfaction and inner peace as opposed to guilt feelings;
- making others happy instead of offending them;
- setting good examples as opposed to initiating morally-wrong influences for the next generation.
Focusing on the immediate and long-term effect of morality, can help individuals stay strong and do the right thing for the right reason.
(2) Refuse to Compromise
Keep boundaries in place. No compromise.
The suggestion for compromise can sometimes be very subtle. A single woman establishes a rule not to call her married friends after nine o'clock at night. One of her married male friends sends a Skype message: "I wish you didn't have that rule; I wanted to talk with you." He seems have a good reason, so she waives her rule. Nothing they say would make things any different than if they had waited until the morning. He just wanted to see whether she would compromise her moral posture, then he would keep pushing against the boundary.
People who do not care about moral boundaries may mock those who observe them, and even try to negate their rules. The key is for individuals who set them to recognize their rights to observe them, and resist the attempts of anyone who suggests compromise. Compromise does not lend to individual strength.
(3) Find Supportive Friends
It is universally agreed upon that friends have great influence on how friends behave. The Bible mandate states:
"Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts." - 2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT)
Morally-minded friends offer assistance, advise, accountability, affirmation and applause to help each other stay strong. Their peer support combats peer pressure from people who casually disregard moral values. They can be a source of strength whether they are near or far away.
(4) Nourish the Mind
"Fix your thoughts on what is true and ... pure." Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Friends can support the individual who commits to a moral lifestyle, but that individual has the obligation to nurture his or her own inner strength. Here is some wisdom:
"How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word." - Psalm 119:9
That includes Bible Study; devotionals; church sermons; wise counsel from godly parents, teachers and friends. It also suggests not reading about, not listening to, not engaging in discussions which promote immoral behavior. The desire for moral strength must come from within. Garbage in, garbage out! Goodness in, goodness out!
(5) Get Physical
Not in any illicit activity. Neither does it have to be jogging or working out in a gym. Dancing, swimming, biking or hiking are some physical activities which can also be fun. Skills You Need informs:
"Exercise improves mood and give you an improved sense of well-being. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins which make you feel better and more relaxed. These in turn improve your mood and lower your stress levels. . . Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen levels in the brain."
Stress and lackadaisical attitudes are opposing influences on moral behavior. When people are tired, feeling weak or depressed, their cognitive ability is below par. In such a compromised state, it is easier to be seduced into wrong doing. They sometimes do things they regret and wonder how they could have done what they did. It helps to get physical when stupor begins to set in. Alertness aids mental and moral strength.
(6) Adopt a Song
Years ago, there was a documentary on recovering alcoholics. Each one selected a song which served as a moral anchor. When he or she felt the pull to try one more drink, singing that song made the craving disappear.
Whether singing, listening or playing, there are many positive effects of music on behavior. Deane Alban, on Be Brain Fit cites:
"Music can make you smarter, happier and more productive at all stages of life. . . Listening and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Music can make you feel more hopeful, powerful, and in control of your life."
Having some meaningful lyrics to sing or repeat may be just the thing to prevent surrender to temptation when an individual desires to spread some gossip, watch a porn movie, or cheat on a mate. If a recorded song is selected and memorized, the singer will hear the music whether or not the tape is playing.
The self-control to walk away from the den of temptation, or to turn one's back on a scoffer and immediately burst into song is certainly an asset in keeping the singer morally strong.
© 2017 Dora Isaac Weithers