Right, wrong, and truth
Acting as a moral compass means standing up for what you know is right, what you believe to be the truth. As Martin Luther King Jr said:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”
Obviously, time and the need for a balanced life means that we can’t all take an active stance on everything that matters, or on every issue we come across. However, we all have a responsibility to think things through so that when we act we act with integrity. Reflecting on possible rights and wrongs will also help us support those who are taking a stand on particular issues. The following quotation from William Temple is useful here:
“The variety of ethical codes in different parts of the world presupposes agreement in one thing, namely, that there is a difference between right and wrong. People may call some things right in some parts of the world which are called wrong in another part of the world; but the difference between right and wrong remains.” (taken from
‘Daily Readings from William Temple’ compiled by Hugh C Warner Mowbray 1981)
This is a useful quotation as it emphasises what many feel that they know by gut instinct: ie that there is ‘right’ and there is
‘wrong’. However, for those who don’t like so-called ‘grey areas’ and who want absolutes, it may not be so helpful as it appears to suggest that truth is relative to context.
It might also seem to contradict what seems like an amazing congruence and agreement in the following quotations from different voices:
“Truth is great and will prevail if left to itself” (Thomas Jefferson)
“Truth prevails for those who live in truth” (Vaclav Havel)
“One word of truth outweighs the entire world” (Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)
“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (Jesus)
Reflect on where you stand about ‘what is right or wrong? and therefore also on ‘what is truth?’
And as you reflect on this, and work out what you’re going to stand up and be counted for, and how you can live a life of integrity as far as moral and ethical decisions are concerned, be encouraged by the following quotation and picture…..
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.” (Anne Frank)