Finding Your Own Guideposts


Many things seem like they should be a black and white issue. If two is added to two, four should occur. However, the saying "life isn't black and white" isn't an exaggeration — there are some things that are objectively right and objectively wrong, and the rest is up to us to decide.

Morality isn't always an easy thing to talk about. Coming from a culture where your morals were deeply ingrained into your religion can be especially confusing, because the same book can give wildly conflicting advice with the turn of a page. When you can find a passage to admonish or support anything out of context, the right/wrong issue becomes even more muddled.

That's not to say that's wrong, and in fact, furthers my point: morality leans heavily on how you interpret the world around you. I believe it's true that humans can justify anything they want to; even if they know they're wrong in the beginning, they can suppress that inner voice and convince themselves they're on the best path possible. Humanities' great atrocities weren't a result of everyone ignoring their better judgment — they were a result of people convincing themselves that they were making the best judgment call possible with the cards in their hand. And when you combine that with someone who is an influential and charismatic public speaker? The whole world can easily start to believe that even the most objectively wrong things are right given the situation.

Because things can get so muddled, finding your own guideposts is crucial to navigating this messy thing we call life. Someone's interpretation of scripture or political speeches or the law can steer you wrong just as easily as it can steer you right, and blindly believing anything is rather dangerous. Being sound in your own conscience allows you the freedom to disagree, regardless of who asks you to go against your better judgment or what justification they give to their decisions. 

There are opinions coming from everywhere — news stations, mentors, respected officials, family, and friends — and sometimes getting outside guidance is good. However, I urge you to find the truth within yourself before you seek the truth in others. Connect with your conscience and let it guide you, and don't let anyone justify to you what you know to be wrong. When you quit listening to explanations, excuses, and out-of-context justifications, you might be surprised at just how black, white, and non-partisan being a good human can be.

"When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God." —Leviticus 19:33-34