Seeking God’s Will in Moral Choices

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom. 12:2)

Pat had just completed her master’s degree in Instructional Design and was having difficulty finding work in her field.  Finally she was hired to complete the last six months of work on a three year federal grant at a small college.  The purpose of the grant was to build a media center in the college’s Agricultural Department to create more engaging learning methods using the media center facilities.

Part of Pat’s work was to conduct surveys on the effectiveness of the grant and then write an evaluation which would be sent to the federal agency supplying the grant.  When Pat presented her report to the department chair, he asked her to remove certain negative findings coming out of the surveys relating to the faculty’s lack of use of the media center.

The department chair did not want the college – or himself — to look bad, which led to his request to revise the report.  Pat says, “When I balked at signing a revised report, the department chair reminded me they were seriously considering offering me a permanent position after the grant ended.  He implied if I went along with the request, I could continue to work for the university.  He also implied that my lack of cooperation would make the post-grant job disappear.”

Pat refused to sign the revised report.  The department chair relented and forwarded the report to the federal government as Pat had written it.  But as he had indicated, the subsequent job never materialized.

In seeking God’s will on her choice, Pat reflected, “This was my first professional work after receiving my degree.  If I started my career this way, how could it not have an impact on how I conducted myself later on?”

Pope Francis in his recent book, Our Father, says, “God does not conceal his will; he makes it known to those who seek it.  He does not force those who are not interested in his will, but he is waiting for them.  He is always waiting.”

Referring to the story of Adam’s fall in Genesis, Pope Francis says there are always two symptoms to saying no to God’s will – fear and accusing others for our mistakes.  As soon as Adam ate the fruit from the tree of good and evil, he became fearful and hid himself from God.  When God confronted him with having eaten the forbidden fruit, he sought to blame Eve for his failing.

In Pat’s story she could have acceded to the department chair’s request to eliminate the negative findings in her report out of fear of losing the opportunity for continued employment.  She could have also blamed her choice on the coercive actions of the department chair.

Pat chose to do neither, but instead sought God’s will in making the right moral choice. 

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