The fourth tempter

I intend to cease judging my actions with words. I have judged a choice: is it courageous or cowardly, selfish or generous, moral or wrong? The trouble is that these are not judgments I can make. So instead, I choose to judge my choices according to whether it make me happy? Will it advance my goals?

I feel safe in doing this, because I am a good person. I have met a sociopath, and have a great deal of evidence that I am not like him. As part of my transition, I have a diagnosis from a psychiatrist that I am “not psychotic”, which is a relief. Made in the image of God, I am loving, creative and powerful, and basically I trust my own motivations to be morally good enough. So. Will it make me happy? Will it advance my goals? And, if later I see that the action has not made me happy, how can I improve it?

This matter of judging can get people into a terrible fankle. Jonathan Dale, a major contributor to the book “Faith in Action- Quaker Social Testimony”, is an inspiring man whose actions are saintly but who judges himself as to his motivations, very harshly. But for any act I can undertake, I can imagine saintly and devilish motivations for it. And how might I judge which are mine?

The “fourth tempter” in “Murder in the Cathedral” tells Thomas a Becket to do the right thing, and he will go to Heaven.To which Becket responds, he will do what he will do because it is right, not because it will profit him.

the highest treason-
to do the right thing for the wrong reason

But I think to achieve my goals or to make myself happy are good reasons for acting. And I will see if an action really is mean, or beneath my dignity and integrity.

One thought on “The fourth tempter

  1. Hurray! You shall aim to do your best, using happiness as your guide, and is that selfish? Not really, because, like all other positive, empowering, emotions, happiness, courage and faith can be seen as having their seat in God. The compass of god, is how a thing makes you feel. If it feels wobbly, uncomfortable or “wrong” then, to that extent you are moving “away” and so far as doing a thing feels good, or better, you are moving “towards” god. Though, of course, god is all in all, everywhere, so the notion of moving away or towards is an illusion. The illusion allows us to choose. So, how could that be selfish? It only could be, if we ask our ego for an opinion, that is, if we start importing expectations and judgements. God does not do that. All the best, Ann xx 🙂

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