By Ethan Hatch
What is right and what is wrong?
Do you know what is right and what is wrong? If you are like me then you probably said “yes,” then thought about it a second longer and added, “ninety percent of the time.” Now if we know what is right, why is it that we sometimes don’t do what is right?
Is it that we prefer the wrong? Or is it the hard work associated with doing the right thing? Perhaps it is a combination of the natural tendencies of man and a lack of vision to the rewards that doing right gives.
Occasionally you will hear someone say, “I did it because it was the right thing to do.” Well, how do we know what is right and what is wrong? Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after” (Death in the Afternoon, ch. 1). This rings true, but there is something missing because sometimes the opposite seems true.
“Dare to stand alone”
The president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, informs us what it means to have morals in an October 2011 address. He tells of a study about people’s opinions of right and wrong. “The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste,” (Dare to Stand Alone). President Monson then continues to say that we must dare to stand alone. There are moral choices that we must uphold because it is not just a matter of personal taste.
God has given us specific commandments not to drink alcohol. He has commanded us not to lie, cheat, or steal. The Lord has commanded us to be virtuous and sexually pure. It does not get simpler than this.
Why should we do what is right?
The rewards that come from obeying God’s commandments can easily be seen; for example, if you do not drink, then you have a mind that is clear and a body that is healthy. Simply, by keeping the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” you are not subject to confinement in prison or other laws.
There are also spiritual rewards that God promises us for keeping the commandments, such as a place in heaven and a pure spirit. Despite these reasons, however, perhaps the most important reason to keep the commandments is simply because God commanded it.
If you are having a hard time discerning what is wrong and what is right, or even if you are seeking direction in life, there is hope and an answer. Pray to God and read the scriptures. There is direct guidance from a perfect and all-knowing God.