Thought for the Day - Brian Draper - 15/09/2012
Everyone I’ve spoken to, this time round, senses that the French magazine Closer has crossed a line by publishing its photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The matter isn’t just in the hands of the solicitors, then; for most of us, when we hear of a story like this, get what you might call the gut feel, the voice of our conscience, which helps us to make up our moral minds, and to calibrate where we stand in response.
And that should, this time, also make many people think twice about taking a curious look for themselves on the Internet; in fact, those who do so must remember they will cross the same line in private as the magazine has crossed in public. That’s how much the matter is in our hands too, or at least, at our finger tips.
We’ve probably all found ourselves sometimes, if we’re honest, in a place where we sense we’re close to the moral edge: but what tells us where the line is drawn, in the end? And whose line is it, anyway?
You’d expect those of us who believe in God to suggest that it’s God’s line all the way, and that he’s watching, and waiting for people to slip up and “sin”.
But to believe that is surely to diminish our own God-given freedom and responsibility to draw boundaries for our self. It’s true the apostle Paul said that “each of us will give an account of [our]self to God” - but I see that less as a threat, and more as an incentive to live instinctively well, and to know the moral reason for how we choose to act in any given situation, especially, as it happens, in private.
And you don’t have to believe in God to find the idea useful.
What if you knew that one day in the future you’d be called to give a fully transparent account of your personal actions and decisions to your peers, for instance, or to your family, or to a public inquiry, even.
Imagine having to explain honestly all the decisions you’ve made and the actions you’ve taken which you always hoped would never see the light of day. The times when you knew deep down you were crossing a line, and continued beyond it, regardless.
But imagine the other possible outcome - of being asked to give account for the way you acted positively and decisively on your gut feeling, on that still, small voice within. To explain how you determined personally where to draw the line, and how determined you then were to live accordingly, and to take a stand when the time came, and to inspire others through your example.
We all have that choice of outcome, I believe, because do we all have to draw the line somewhere.