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A Coin Toss

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A Coin Toss

A Coin Toss

I suppose one could say there are two sides to every coin. The coin being myself, I know that this statement is true. Although I am a person of many different characteristics, I basically boil down to the person I am and the person I hope to be. What is the goal, I ask myself. So many people strive to be so many things. For some the aim is money, beauty, security, power, influence; who has the nicest house, who has the fastest car- the list goes on and on. Not that any of these things are bad in and of themselves, but the moral and ethical standards of our society have been left behind in the pursuit of these pleasures. So, what is important? Is character even needed in the new century? Here is where I have to believe that most people are in the same pickle that I find myself: how do I live a happy, successful life in the company of others? Is what I do and how I treat those around me going to effect the world I live in? I believe the answer is yes.

Just think- if everyone acted however they wanted to, our world be chaos! Why? Because people act and respond upon their ethical value system. Now, are everyone’s moral and ethical standards the same? No, obviously many different people make many different decisions both right and wrong. However, as C.S. Lewis commented in his book Mere Christianity (21), “human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it”, and secondly, “that they do not in fact behave in that way.”

People do expect a certain standard from each other, and it is here that we find a higher law pressing upon us, including factors that span across time, cultures, nationalities, etc. We call this the Moral Law or the Law of Human Nature. For example, among every nation the people agree that murder is morally wrong and should be punished. Moral duty obliges people to act fairly, honestly, justly, etc. I bring up this issue because this is what provides a framework for my character. My character is developed from the beliefs and standards I find present in my life, the Moral Law being the highest one. Now, people may argue that ethical values and morals are relative to each individual person and situation, however, relativism not only removes the need for absolutes, it grays the lines to what people have agreed upon as right and wrong. And that is what our coin toss is all about. Why should I do something right? Why should I respect others, be honest and truthful, obey the laws of the land, respect myself, etc.? The question almost answers itself. You can’t go wrong by doing what’s right.

Many people, including myself, face this decision frequently: do I sacrifice my character for a material gain? Okay, have you ever looked into a mirror and the reflection isn’t yours? Oh, the face is the same, but you know it’s not the real you? I’m talking about your character.

The Apostle Paul said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”(Rom.7: 15, NIV). He was talking about the continual struggle we all face when confronted with every day moral dilemmas. It truly is an internal battle to stick to your convictions, when the other options are so appealing. The battle for character is definitely alive and kicking in my own life as well. There are aspects of my character that I have worked very hard to develop, and there are other aspects I am trying to bring up to speed.

Commitment, for example, is one characteristic of myself that I try very hard to uphold. I try very hard to stay committed to my priorities: my family, my friends, my religion, my job, and my education. Commitment is rooted deep into my character because it was a quality instilled by my parents since I was young. I adopted it fully as my own when I started seeing rewards to my commitments. Dedication to any area of one’s life brings meaning, understanding, and growth. People will also recognize and have trust in your commitment and involvement.

Another character trait is being trustworthy. It is not enough to say you are going to do something, people want to know that your action will follow your words. Being trustworthy requires me to act out of dedication to what is right. I want people to know that I will fulfill my responsibilities in full. The way I have tried to establish this belief in my character is by holding these words in my heart: if you are responsible for the small things I will reward you will larger things. I hold myself to a higher standard, believing that I am serving not only those around me, but also One that requires such action and will reward it later. Proverbs says, “serve man as you would God”. To this end I try to establish myself as one that can be trusted in both things large and small.


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