Doing what’s right often takes courage. Rarely is the high road the easy road, but it’s always the path to purity of soul, which leads directly to love.
As a rather elementary example, my 3 school-age children are naturally testing the limits of trust and truth-telling. When I notice a cookie has inevitably been snatched or when a stain mysteriously appears on the carpet, I naturally confront my kids. At that moment, they are faced with a dilemma: do the right thing and tell the truth or, avoid a short term consequence and tell a lie.
Regardless of the choice the culprit makes, I embrace the teachable moment, perched on the edge of my seat waiting to launch into a brief, but important, lecture. It might sound something like this: “tell a lie and a small black spot appears on your soul. No one else can see it, but you know it’s there. The trouble with the spot is that with each one, you might like yourself just a little less. So instead of feeling confident in yourself, you have self-doubt. The good news is, no one is perfect and no spot is permanent. Apologize, make amends, change the behavior, all is forgiven, the spot disappears and you can feel 100% confident in your goodness. “
Truth telling, compassion for children and animals, behaving responsibly, geneorus giving, etc. – whenever the opportunity to do the right thing arises, the rules are always the same: make the hard choice, and you can feel good about yourself; think only of what might feel comfortable in the present moment, and there are long-term consequences – self-doubt among them.
Feeling confident in who we are, in our goodness, allows love and compassion to flow freely from our hearts. Making moral choices that reinforce love of Self, is the same as making choices that reinforce love of others.
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” Martin Luther King, Jr.