Ever since I was a little girl I have had an issue with doing what I discern is right. I’m not sure why, but early on I had a sense of what was the right thing in any given situation. That is not to say I never did anything wrong, because that is certainly not true. Morally, though, I have always had the knowledge of what the right decisions should be. Temptation was always there, especially when the wrong thing was either appealing or easier to get through.
This brings me to my next point. Doing the right thing is not always easy nor is it always popular. Let’s say I did not have much popularity amid the masses growing up. Yes, it made life hard, and there was a lot of rejection. Then we feed into the mix my own personal spiritual beliefs life became even harder, or maybe just more confusing. The diversity of things people can believe tend to segregate us more than bring us together. I feel that in America, church hour on Sunday’s still remain the most segregated and even bigoted time we spend. This is not always the personal case. I am generalizing just a little bit. Even my own personal relationships tended to go through separation over what I feel has always been a moral issue.
When I look back, I have noticed that past relationships did not work out due to moral decisions that I held and the other did not agree with. Sometimes my morality sent them packing and running in the other direction. Other times dysfunction and co-dependency were the underlying problems that brought things to a halt. Regardless as to what the issues were, the separation always felt like rejection. In actuality, it was usually a difference of belief and life decisions.
On a consciousness level, I have had an issue with immorality or acts that are not upright. This is not meant to be a finger pointing or judgemental topic. I am simply stating my own personal experience. I guess early on I had a tendency to sense and gravitate toward God in my life. I always felt things very deeply and have always had a sensitivity that often can award me a look or comment of disapproval. It has taken me a very long time to overcome the tendency to seek out approval from others over my own personal convictions.
People pleasing is a hard issue to break and takes the power of Godly conviction and resolve. I guess my people pleasing issues became easier to overcome when I realized how much of myself I had to sacrifice in order to get approval. I got sick of sacrifice. I even came to understand the truth that sacrifice was not needed since God never required it of me, even when I was a Pastor. For some reason people sometimes believe I am supposed to give more than I am able just because I am a minister. This is not true. Ministry is guidance, love, and compassion. Never was it ever meant to be sacrifice.
I’m just speaking honestly and openly here. I get into trouble when people don’t like that I want to do the right thing while they want to do the wrong thing. When others around me want to violate my moral compass the outcome can be disturbing and that is an understatement. I find myself in a position where I feel I have to defend my right to not agree with what violates my boundaries. I know God is on my side, so that makes it easier but it never makes it more comfortable. Maybe I need to be a bit more determined when it comes to overcoming the need to be liked over the need to be right for myself and God? I’ve always desired to do the right thing for God. After all, God is the One I need to please and not people. This is true no matter how we all believe.
I know God forgives. This is the amazing part of love. Yet, God created our universe in a way where we all receive discipline when the wrong thing is chosen. It’s easy to justify it because our actions were the easier route or the temptation was greater than the conviction at the time. Nonetheless, we all receive the discipline we deserve to get sooner or later. We can all bet our last dollar on that one. I have seen it happen.
Do other people get mad at you for wanting to do the right thing when they don’t? Keep this in mind. We are all ambassadors for God and on God’s behalf we live, breathe, move, and have our being. (Yes, I snuck a little “bible” in there!). My desire is to give God the best experience of His life, through mine. Since He lives in us, He knows what we do. There is no hiding. Adam and Eve tried that little move and it did not work for them. It will not work for us either. What God desires from us is closeness and relationship. Since He can not be a part of darkness He will not be a part of our breach of moral compass. Yes, He is forgiving, but that does not excuse us from the discipline we will eventually receive. My mother forgave me for sneaking an extra piece of cake when I was little, but she still sent me to my room. I think you get the idea. Love will not excuse indiscretion or deliberately making the wrong choices.
This might end up sounding like a lecture, and it is! I want your life to be filled with the blessing of closeness with God. I want you to have all of the things God has promised, including prosperity, mercy, grace, and the power that comes from walking uprightly. I want that for myself. So, as for me, and hoping my house, we will follow the ways of God. I know blessing will come from it.
“Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet.” Emmet Fox
Loving you from here,
Dr Jenine Marie Howry, PhD