Morality on a scale… but whose scale do we use?


I have been asked on occassion if it is possible for a person to be morally pure in one area of their life while at the same time being morally corrupt in another area of their life.

Let me state here and now that I think we all understand that there is not a single person who will be morally pure in the sense that they will be error free every single day of their life.  However I do believe to be considered morally pure one can and must, each day, conciously decide to walk according to the will of their Creator.

Now back to the original concept of (basically) compartmentalizing one’s life.  Let us just say that this person if faithful to their church in every way.  They attend regularly, they  tithe and give offerings.  They volunteer their time for church functions, they may even go on overseas mission trips.  For all intense and purposes everyone who sees this church person would say that this person is a solid Christian.

This same person at home is faithful to his wife, plays an active role in the raising of his children, his lawn and house are kept in good order.   If you were to ask his neighbors about him they would confess that they could wish for no better neighbor.

In order to be faithful to his church in the tithe, the offering, volunteering his time and going on mission trips and too be a good neighbor doing all the things that involves this individual is employed as a Real Estate Agent.  He is not the Broker in Charge but instead works for someone out of their office.  Just for the purpose of this writing let us assume that the BiC is less than a person of integrity and has all of the agents working out of that specific office not out and out lie about some of their properties but maybe just omit some things.  Not big things but things that may seem just to small to mention to any perspective buyers.  No matter how small these things are it would still cost the buyer of the home some money to fix/repair/modify or whatever the case.  So as a matter of routine this morally pure person, in order to keep his job in this office has agreed to “go along to get along”.  After all it is not like they lied about the home not having termites when it did or something big like that.  Maybe it was just a ceiling fan and after all it would only cost the new home owners a couple of hundred dollars to get a new one installed.  No big deal on the grand scheme of things.  But this is not a one time occurrence this is a way he has chosen to do business.

He has justified his way of doing business because after all God has surely blessed him and look at all the work he does in his local church.  For years he has been able to provide nicely for his family.   Surely, he is not doing anything “that” wrong.  After all he knows of other Real Estate Agents who do far worse than that.

So here are the questions. 

1. Is this individual morally pure?

2.  Is he good enough? 

3.  Is it okay to compartimentalize you life?

4.  If you were aware of this going on what would you do?… if anything.

5.  How much trust would you have in a person like this?


7 Responses to Morality on a scale… but whose scale do we use?

  1. jonolan says:

    From what I gather you are born in sin and doomed by your own fallibility to continue to sin throughout your life. So what IS good enough when failure is foredoomed by the nature of your creation?

  2. mssc54 says:

    Jonolan; your rudimentary understanding is basically correct.

    However, those of us who truly believe in the Creator will recognise where that sin line is and will therefore be less likely to step over it. We will of course make mistakes but they will be fewer and fewer as we mature in Christ.

    Beautiful pic by the way. You should try to get out in the sun more.

  3. Lindsey says:

    I don’t think that it’s possible to compartmentalize. Either we try to do the best we can in every area, or we are hypocrites.

    I know that probably sounds a tad ironic considering our recent argument about Edwards, but while you think that Edwards chose a path of sin I choose to be optimistic and assume that he simply caved in a moment of weakness, when he was under tremendous strain.

    In any case, if holiness is the goal it must be the goal universally. Otherwise it’s just a farce.

  4. mssc54 says:

    ROFL well I didn’t actually roll on the floor physically but I really did laugh out out loud when I initially read your post.

    Lindsey… I can’t help it I’m still chuckling while trying to type.

    Arguement about Edwards, what ever do you mean.

    We certainly agree on this one. You can’t intentionally decide to live one way in one area and believe it will not affect another.

    Thanks for your input!

  5. The Christian Ranter says:

    I think men and women are different with respect to compartmentalizing. Men can be serial killers and “the quiet neighbor who was always willing to help”, while women tend to mix those compartments together so that one aspect effects all of the others. I think the Bible tells us that if we are guilty of one sin, then we are guilty of breaking all of the law.

  6. moriahjoy says:

    I think Jonolan points out something fundamentally important here…nothing we do can make us morally pure…but what is called into question by the story you present is this man’s conscious intentional hedging of integrity in his job…

    I sin every day; I fall and I fail and I make mistakes. But my desire and my choice is to live according to God’s best and moral law…and so I pick myself up and try again.

    To settle and purposefully choose to sin and somehow try to sanitize it or compartmentalize it or compare yourself to others and determine you do better than they is to miss the whole point: we can never be morally pure (the crux of the Gospel message and the reason for the need for a Savior) and yet, out of love for God and a trust in His judgement for the best in our lives, we must try to continually become more like Jesus and less in bondage to our former selves but live as children redeemed and renewed.

    As you said, the more we mature in Christ, the less apt we will be to choose sin.

    Either way, I’m thankful Jesus provides for us because we all fail miserably on this sin issue.

    But for the grace of God, go I.

  7. lawyerchik1 says:

    At one point in my past, I took a class or two on being a real estate agent (and practiced real estate law), and while I understand your point and the bottom-line principles, you have to realize that, at least in Michigan anyway, the listing agent represents the seller in a real estate transaction. He does not have any obligation to the buyer, other than to provide the seller’s disclosure statement, the listing (which should identify what does or doesn’t go with the house), and make the property available to prospective buyers for a showing.

    If there is an offer to purchase and the buyer does not have his or her own agent, the listing agent IS STILL THE SELLER’S AGENT – and as such has no duty to tell the buyer anything. In fact, if he told the buyer, for example, that the ceiling fan did not go with the house, and he caused the seller to lose out on the sale, the listing agent could be liable for breach of his fiduciary duty to his seller.

    So, his higher duty, if you will, is to his seller (the person with whom he has a listing agreement) – not to the buyer. The old adage “buyer beware” is true: as a prospective buyer, if you don’t have your own agent (known as a “buyer’s agent”), or if you have one but don’t actively take a role in asking about what does or doesn’t go with the house and insist on a written list of what you’re getting, it is not that the seller’s agent is being dishonest; it’s that you didn’t do what you should do on your own behalf.

    That said, generally speaking, anything that is fastened to the property such that removal would leave damage is generally considered a “fixture,” and is usually going to go with the property, unless there is a disclaimer otherwise. If, in this case, your hypothetical seller removed the ceiling fan/light fixture and replaced it with a general light fixture, and there was no specific addendum including the ceiling fan in the purchase agreement, there isn’t anything much to do about it.

    This wasn’t supposed to be that long of a comment!! Sorry!! I just don’t want someone thinking of another person as “moral” or “immoral”, “trustworthy” or “untrustworthy”, or to assume that he or she was “compartmentalizing” his or her life on the basis of incomplete information about what his or her job really is about.

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