Devaluation of values


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here are values and values. What a particular culture may consider a value is valueless for another culture. Values are what human beings cherish, and strive to keep. But one's value can be questioned in certain circumstances and situations. While it is true that it holds good for me at all times, it needs to be suspended in its applications in some circumstances and situations.

As an example, punctuality is a virtue as well as a value. But there are circumstances when it cannot be adhered to - though one may like to keep it. Charity may demand that I forgo being on time, to fulfilling an urgent demand of charity towards my neighbour. The Pharisees, the group that was meticulous in observing the letter of the law, would find fault with Jesus for curing the sick on the Sabbath, because they said that on Sabbath one should not work. Jesus broke this taboo because charity demanded that this or that sick person has to be healed.

Values help us to act with justice and fair play. It keeps our chin up when we are tired and feel like giving up. They are like ideals that we keep in front of our mind at all times, and which draws us forward constantly. If we fail, they trouble our conscience sufficiently to make us say sorry. Could values be upset? What was a value in the last century could it lose its value today in today's society? It is possible and we witness this in some areas of life in the modern world.

But there are values that are perennial, and they do not change with times except perhaps in their understanding and applications. One such is the charity or love that we must exhibit towards the weak and the poor. Jesus wanted this to be kept by all his followers at all times. It is as it were their hall mark of discipleship: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13.35).

But at times, this could be very difficult. This is especially so if the person who stands in need of such a love and concern is ungrateful, unkind, rough and uncouth. But my Christian charity demands that at least I try to be caring and concerned towards him/her.

The truthful person is not afraid of the consequences of his telling the truth. It may bring him, at times, loss of face. Or it may force him to say sorry. But such a person holds truth uppermost in his life. One such person was St John the Baptist (precursor of Jesus) who did not hesitate to tell King Herod that what he was doing (keeping his brother’s wife as his own) was wrong. This honesty landed him in prison and subsequently he even lost his life. There are many values one holds in one's life, they keep us balanced in a chaotic world!

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