September 26, 2018

“Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your principles!” Psalm 119:5

In the past, life was simpler, right was right and wrong was wrong. Back in my childhood days, the good guy was good, and the bad guy was bad. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, back in my childhood days the brass notes of the William Tell Overture introduced the story of The Lone Ranger, who along with his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, fought to bring justice to the untamed West.

Back in my childhood as a six-year-old, my vocabulary did not include the word “values.” I didn’t understand a personal set of values drove one’s behavior. I acted because I acted. But I knew The Lone Ranger fought against evil. I didn’t realize that his actions, like those of Superman, resulted from their values of Truth, Justice, and the American Way of Life. The Ranger was a hero because he combined the nation’s virtues into one man fighting evil.

Today, I long to return to the days of yesteryear when “Out of the past come the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver.” I yearn for the Ranger to ride again. I want to associate with people of integrity; men and women who are truthful, just, joyful, optimistic, enthusiastic, kind, and merciful. 

Values have become a rallying cry of the times. Politicians we approve of have, “right” values; politicians we don’t agree with have “wrong” values. Many Believers equate Christians and good values while they tag non-Christians with less than good values.

The Dictionary defines values as, “Something we esteem or prize; something of value.”  Value is a belief, principle, or guide meaningful to a person. It is something you value. “What we obtain too cheap,” wrote Thomas Paine, “we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

Values set up the ground rules and boundaries of acceptable and desirable behavior. Values show how people act in their daily life. They help set our priorities and decide where we spend our time, with whom, doing what. Every person has values. The key is not that we have values, but what values we have.

Personal values can include the belief in orderliness, commitment, creativity, personal development, independence, honesty, integrity, competitiveness, spirituality, professionalism, teamwork, patriotism, accountability, courage, and traditionalism.

How we live, our choice of possessions and profession, our passions and how we related to others—is determined by our set of values. This behavioral coding broadcasts the message: Jere’s what I value.

Someone said, “Values suggest the ringing words in the Declaration of Independence, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident.”