We live in a world that does not really recognize the true significance of the choices we make in life. The old classical understanding of virtue ethics being related to character building has become lost in the me-centered generations developed from the renaissance turn to the individual. Everything should be all about me and my perceived needs, and anyone else’s needs are secondary. Western democracies are discovering that this sort of attitude is not very easy to work with when it come to getting things done that nobody ‘feels like doing.’

 

How do we overcome the selfishness and narcissism that drives so much of relating in our world today. The only answer I can see is a return to character-based ethics. We need to be forming our children in the understanding that everything they do and say contributes to the building of their character. Morality is not just about avoiding breaking the law or doing something wrong, it is really about discovering the opportunities to make the choices that will create our character according to the fact that we were created in the image and likeness of God. If God is anything he is a God of character and not a God of the rules!

 

Jesus tells a parable today that speaks to this truth. It is up to us to decide what sort of a disciple of Jesus we both want to be and will become by the choices we make. Instead of seeing morality as the avoidance of evil, let us start looking at it as the choosing of the ‘goods’ of human flourishing! That is, let us make morality a positive rather than a negative reality in our lives. I can assure you that it will make an enormous difference if we do this!

 

Learning to make choices for the good of human living will give us an entirely different perspective on life to the point that we will begin to become different people. We will become empowered to create our own destiny in the positive sense of choosing it rather than simply avoiding something bad! I know which system I prefer!

 

How do I look at morality in my life? What does it mean to me? Am I simply following a whole lot of rules that are given to me by others?

 

Lord Jesus, teach me how to believe and pursue the fullness of life by becoming proactive in my own character formation. Help me to realize that life is there to be lived and it is not just about avoiding sin!