Morality and who decides what it is? (revised from an earlier post)


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 oversees 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 small to mention to the 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.  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.  He has for years 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’s the question.  Is this individual morally pure? Is he good enough?  Is it okay to compartimentalize you life for what is right and what is wrong?


8 Responses to Morality and who decides what it is? (revised from an earlier post)

  1. CAM says:

    I think the answers are as follows: No, no, and yes. No one is morally pure, not even in one area. Refer to the writings of Paul…”there is no one who is good…not even one”. Purity implies perfection. No one is perfect, not even in one aspect of their lives, for we were “born in sin” and will be made perfect only in the afterlife. Is he good enough? No, because anything less than perfect isn’t “good enough”. The third question I am not sure I fully understand. To compartmentalize is to create separate compartments that remain distinct from one another. Using that definition, yes, it is okay to “separate” what is right and wrong in your life. To reference your analogy, the man would be wrong for misleading buyers, but this “wrong act” would be wrong for its own sake and would be of no relation to his good deeds. That is to say, there is no “balancing out of right and wrong acts”. Cheers

    mssc54 replied:

    CAM: It is highly unlikely that an individual would be able to intentionally determine to be dishonest in one area of their life while leaving other areas of his/her life unaffected. The thought process (I believe) would eventually lead to corruption in other areas. “Well, I’ve been getting away with this in that area so….”

    Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Joy says:

    This is a hard one. I personally don’t think anyone is “morally pure.” Because even if you just have an un-pure thought, it’s still there. It doesn’t matter if it’s just in your head or not. Un-pure is un-pure and God knows you thought it. I do feel if it’s the case of a broken ceiling fan or something very minor, yes, he’s a good person. If he’s letting someone buy something that could ruin the house, such as termites or know of structural damage, then that would be a different story. I feel that kind of thing has to be known to the buyers.

    I also feel certain people do certain jobs and most of us know they are unsavory professions yet we need someone to do them so who would do them if everyone was morally pure? We all joke about lawyers and politicians, real estate agents but we need them for the jobs they do. I do feel it doesn’t take one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch and there has to be some honest ones. But on the whole, we have all made lawyer jokes or politician jokes but where would this world be without them?

    I do have to say that I don’t believe in any way in tithing. It’s one of my main problems with organized religions. We know all to well of “un-pure” people. Even the pastors and or priests. Yet they still accept this “un-pure” money from tithing and they know it wasn’t honest money. So should the church in turn say “we don’t want your dirty real estate money?” I do feel everyone should be held accountable. It’s not just the one making the money and giving it to the church it’s also the church’s duty to make it known they are taking money from an un-pure person. I feel this is a two way street. The church is making this look okay by taking the money so maybe the un-pure person thinks as long as it’s “white lying,” it’s okay?????? After all, the church is accepting it and maybe there’s been a “confession” and the priests know full well it’s not honest money but they still take it.

    Maybe I’m not a good one to answer this question.

    mssc54 replied:

    Joy: I for one think there are honest and dishonest in every profession (used care salesmen and lawers included).

    Take a look at your tithing stance. If you carry that reasoning outside of the church then emergency room physicians would refuse to treat gang bangers, heart surgeons would not be allowed to accept payment anyone they expect gained their money by dishonest means.

    It’s not that God needs our money. I think He just want’s to see where our priorities are. Incicentially “tithing” is not found in the New Testament and if you look in 1 Corenthians it says that each man should give as his heart tells him. I (personally) believe that the tithe is just a starting place. Additionally, I have never completely agreed how the church spends it’s money on everything. However, I also believe that it is my obligation to give. That’s all I have to answer to. What the church does with the money is what they will have to answer for. 😉

  3. starlaschat says:

    I have that to tell the truth is so when you lay your head on your pillow at night you feel good about you. Even the small stuff, it’s amazing that people will appreciate hearing the small details. When I sell a car these days I tell them everything I know If they buy the buy and I can feel good about the deal It is hard when you work for others and they expect you to conduct business as they do. That would be a difficult situation.

    mssc54 replied:

    Starlaschat: A very good discription of integrity: doing what is right when you are the only one who will ever know.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Des says:

    I think it’s easier for a man to compartmentalize than a woman. How many women serial killers have you read about? We as men tend to justify bad behavior in certain areas because there’s always some unfairness that we perceive or some need that goes unmet that gives us the right to be immoral. Just look the life of David and how things went for him after his roof top stroll. I’m sure he was a pretty moral guy, but that one thing haunted him the rest of his life.

    mssc54 replied:

    Des: I think you may be on to something there.

    As for David… he must have known what bathing time was.

  5. Philip Millar says:

    Is it with a tythe that his moral impurities are cleansed, is it a reliance upon his maker being all forgiving if he repents his sins, or is this a typical hypocracy that this man feels morrally pure by compartmentalising his moral impurity and satisfying his conscious by his good works and paying homage to his maker.
    It is possible to respect a sincerely religeous person, however is it a sin to use a religeon for the purpose of self satisfaction. Here is a somewhat similar question, A man is familiar with a Mafia Don, due to this he gains respect from more minor criminals and pays that don some monies for protection. He visits the Don on a regular Basis and performs favours for the don. Due to this he lives off the proceeds of his or others crimes but sleeps at night under the protective wing of said don and is respected or feared in his community. Is it acceptable that he be forgiven at his passing by paying a tythe and confessing to his maker? Whilst in many ways Moral guidance of holy books may improve society moral forgivness must be at a cost of non repetition of the sin intentionally.

    mssc54 replied:

    Philip: Of course none of us can buy our way into forgiveness. The problem with your analogy with the mafia don is that they guy who was enjoying his relationship with the don had to have a corrupt relationship with the Father. If we determine what is acceptable/corrupt behavior before we have to make the choice the choice will be more easily made.

  6. Hobo says:

    Knowing what is wrong and doing it is sin. Knowing what is right and not doing it is sin. We tend to justify some things we do and not only is it sin it damages our spiritual growth and relationship with God. Proverbs 14:12 tells us there is a way that seems right to man but it’s end is the way to death. If we are in a situation or have a job that makes us compromise what we know is right (Spiritually/Biblically) , we need to regroup…….because the bible gives us the exampe in 1Corinthians 15:33 that we shouldn’t be deceived: Bad company corrupts Good morals.

    Love Ya (Hopped any Trains lately?)

    mssc54 replied:

    Hobo: Right you are. And no I haven’t hopped any trains since I was… 15 years old. Oh but what a ride that was! 😉

  7. This little conundrum is exactly why I quit the legal field. Even if you aren’t directly involved in gray area issues of ethics, they will still weigh on the conscientious mind. (At least, I hope they will.)

  8. I like the question on being totally morally pure. I also like the picture and the message. I like your blog a lot and I see that you are friends with Joy which means you definitely are in good company. Thanks for the great stories and for the challenging thoughts.

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