Moral Compass — We all have one. Do you know which direction yours and your children’s is pointed?
To answer that, let’s define morality so we can know where our compass is pointed—in a range of direction anywhere from unloving, self-centered behaviors to loving, Christlike behaviors that consistently show the fruit of the Spirit.
What Is Your General Morality?
It’s common to think of morality in terms of your stand on various social issues, or your position on things like abortion or sex outside of marriage.
It’s common to think of general morality as what you think makes you a good person. Perhaps you feel that honesty is important to you, or cleanliness, or good manners, or church service, or financial responsibility.
Whatever you think makes you a good person is your general morality. All of us have a self-generated, or often family generated sense of what is important in terms of right and wrong.
Your ideas of morality are very closely tied to whatever standards (see last post) you’ve adopted for what you think is right and wrong, and what makes you a good person. The question is, are your standards lined up with God’s moral standards? If not, then your moral compass is not pointed to true north.
While mentally thinking of ourselves as a moral people, we easily skip over the morality of our hearts, where our morals originate, and where God wants to influence us to get our moral compass pointed in the right direction toward love. It’s the “quality” of your morality God wants to challenge.
The “Quality” of Your Morality
Your morals relate to the right or wrong manners and conduct you practice with the people in your life. Your morals also relate with how your conduct has a bearing on the rights and happiness of others. This definition of morality points to the “quality” of your relational interactions. The direction your moral compass is pointed can be found by examining the quality of how you relate with those closest to you. [Have you taken the free Family Heartbeat Evaluation yet?]
Does the quality of your morality include having a clear conscience? Does it include being loving when giving your children correction and instruction?
“Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:5
Pointing our moral compass toward the Lord’s characteristics and values will give us a new wardrobe in the Spirit.
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union with the Christ, the Anointed] have clothed yourselves with Christ [that is, you have taken on His characteristics and values].” ~ Galatians 3:27
If you have allowed the Lord to show you your moral compass compared to His, then you may have already discovered that those things you previously thought of as your moral goodness, actually led you to treat your family and others in unloving ways.
Sin Results When Your Moral Compass Is Pointed to the Wrong Standard
Let’s say you are someone who feels table manners are very important. Table manners are good, and so you tend to notice when others’ table manners don’t match the standard you hold for yourself. In turn, you have taken great pains to teach your children how to behave to your standards at the table.
Manners are important, but manners are really about habitually treating others with honor and respect for their blessing. If your habits include perfect table manners, but you are also easily offended, and then yell at or shame your children and husband, or pull away and pout, then these particular relational exchanges show the quality of your character—the moral compass of your heart.
Taking up offense, yelling and shaming, pulling away and pouting are acceptable for your moral compass. Your moral compass, in a measure, points toward these behaviors.
Your Children’s Moral Compass
Your children are picking up their moral character from the way you behave in your relational exchanges with them. They are coming to understand what is morally acceptable from you. Your moral character is setting the direction of their moral compass.
God wants to challenge the quality of your morality. It is pointed anywhere from the wide range of unloving, self-centered behaviors to loving, Christlike behaviors that consistently show the fruit of the Spirit.
When God challenges the quality of your morality toward the formation of your character. He re-directs your moral compass to His standard of love, so He can form Christlike character in you and your children.
If you want a snapshot of your moral character, here it is: Your moral character is the sum and quality of your interactions every single day all added up together.
The Direction God Wants You to Point Your Moral Compass
Here’s the direction God wants you to go when pointing your moral compass.
“For this very reason, applying your diligence [to the divine promises, make every effort] in [exercising] your faith to develop moral excellence. In moral excellence, knowledge (insight, understanding), and in your knowledge, self-control. In your self-control, steadfastness, and in your steadfastness, godliness. In your godliness, brotherly affection, and in your brotherly affection, [develop Christian] love [that is, learn to unselfishly seek the best for others and to do things for their benefit]. For as these qualities are yours and are increasing [in you as you grow toward spiritual maturity], they will keep you from being useless and unproductive in regard to the true knowledge and greater understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 2 Peter 1:5-8 TAB
Are you heading toward moral excellence, seeking the best for others and doing things for their benefit? As you allow God to keep you pointed in this direction, you will point your children there too.
A Snapshot of Character God Wants for You
God is giving you vivid snap-shots of your true moral character. It’s seen in your relational fruit, and it brings conviction to your heart for the need of personal inner change. He wants to give you new snap-shots of holy character to point your moral compass toward. Here’s one such example:
“So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others].” ~ Colossians 3:12-14 AMP
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” ~ Colossians 3:12-14 The Message
What can you look for in yourself while directing the moral compass of your children?
When you give instruction to your children, are you giving it with a spirit of love? Do you gently urge your children while being firm with them, or do you frustrate them with your demands and complaints? Are your emotional expressions to your children out of control?
Are your children emotionally out of control too? Do they gripe, complain, beg, and pout? These behaviors in you and your children show the quality of your morality—your character. They show in which direction your moral compass is pointed. What lessons of character have you been learning? Can you share with me your victories in the comments below?
Dear Hearts, You are directing the moral compass of your children in the midst of every interaction with them. You are telling them what kind of treatment is all right toward others and what isn’t. Point your moral compass to true north so you can help your children to do the same.
Make every effort to exercise your faith toward forming character. Faith is the fifth function of your relational heartbeat, and the topic coming up next week.
If you missed the introduction to this series of messages, you can find it here.
Recap of the First 4 Functions of Your Relational Heartbeat
As God reveals His standards (3rd function) of sin and of righteousness, by His influence (1st function) to our conscience (2nd function), He is showing us where to point our moral compass (4th function).