On Virtue and Vice

I’ve been thinking . . .

I walked into my colleague’s office.  I would do that a couple of times a month just to catch up on what he was working on and what he was thinking about.  There on the wall was a listing of the seven deadly sins.  I asked what seemed to me the obvious question, “Why are you focusing on negatives?  Why aren’t you posting a list of the cardinal virtues?”  He replied that he was fascinated by that list.

A short while later, I returned to my office and sat down in front of my computer and opened a new document.  On that document I typed the cardinal virtues.  I then printed the list and posted it prominently on the wall.  Those virtues are:

  • Prudence
  • Justice
  • Temperance
  • Courage

I had been talking with my son who was coming of age about these very items.  I urged him to use this short list of virtues to model his life.  Fortunately, I believe he has.

Do you think it is better to focus on the DOs or the DON’Ts?  Why?

Make it more personal.  Do you consider what you should do?  Or is it what you shouldn’t do?

How do you maintain focus on these matters?

Help me.  Please!  Let’s get something started here that we can continue next Tuesday.  Thanks in advance.

2 thoughts on “On Virtue and Vice

  1. This could really become a very interesting subject – the first thought that came to my mind was focusing on the negatives. Very early in life we learn to focus on the negatives. Our parents tell us not to do something, NO, and the very first thing we turn to do is the very thing we were told not to do. Does this make sense?
    Today our society has become a very negative society – hence the political debates. Throughout all of them was anything positive said about the other candidate? Did any of the candidates comment on the other’s virtues, their temperence and even their courage for opening themselves up to the “political murder” that is done upon them and their families??
    Our news media, I believe, is the biggest sinner of all. They report so many negative stories, not only political, but on everyday life in general. It has become depressing to watch the news and hear about all of the negativity that is reported on. Is there no happiness, or goodness that could be reported??
    Please, please lets review the list above and start to focus on the do’s instead of the don’ts in our life.
    My goal for today is to focus on the good, virtuous and will try to be just in my dealings and have the courage to stand by my beliefs.
    Let’s DO find the good in the people that we deal with.
    Let’s DO deal justly with our friends, neighbors, merchants that we deal with and our families
    Let’s DO have the courage to stand for our beliefs – or even our unbelief’s.
    Let’s DO ask our Heavenly Father to guide us in the DO’s that he places on our hearts to do.

  2. I don’t believe that as I was growing up I ever thought about virtues or developing my character. But I do remember my folks encouraging me to live by the Golden Rule and do to others what I wanted them to do to me. As I learned more in church about God and His love for me, I was taught to show love even to those not loveable and to my “enemies” with Jesus as my example. I figure that focusing on His virtues helped me avoid some of the vices.

    I could also ignore some of the church’s petty rules. One lady told my mother it wasn’t right for us teens to go to MacDonald ‘s for a hamburger and french fries on Sunday night after evening service because Christians shouldn’t buy things on Sunday and we made others work on the Lord’s Day. So my folks allowed all the teens to come over to our house for popcorn and ping pong. We thought the “rule” was ridiculous, but we didn’t want to hurt other peoples’ conscience.

    I think that focusing on the “Don’ts” and vices leads to self-righteousness and a narrow view of what God wants us to be. Focusing on Do’s (a list of external commands) can also lead to self-righteousness. If we focus on what Jesus would do, we move toward being who we were meant to be in God’s Kingdom.