The movie tells the story of a young man who lived in a “bad” family environment in Memphis, Tenn., and was taken in and eventually adopted into a family that gave him the compass he needed to head in the right direction in life. Michael didn’t know who his father was, and his mother was a drug addict. Leigh Anne and the rest of the Tuohy family provided the compass Michael could use to find a different kind of life. They gave him the love he needed to leave an empty, potentially deadly future. Instead of a destructive life, Michael was given hope from a family that provided him the moral and spiritual compass to make wise life decisions.
Every child deserves parents who will provide a moral compass early in each boy and girl’s life. There’s good news here and bad news. The good news is there are many parents or grandparents who are passing the compass along to a generation of children whose future will be to pass along the secrets of the compass to their children. The bad news is there will always be those parents who have no moral compass to pass on to their children. With no parental compass for these children to know the difference between right and wrong, our community has a moral right to protect our future and try to save those children.
For several years, we’ve watched our communities determine a moral compass was not needed. Voices and votes of those who are concerned our moral base is disintegrating have done the right things. We must raise our voices to be louder. How? There must be consistency between what we believe and how we live.
Do we, as parents, tell our children not to lie, but act as if it’s OK if we do? Do we say marriage is important, but won’t do what’s necessary to make it better? Is this an economic problem? Do you have to be educated to learn these secrets? Have we given up our responsibility as moral compass agents? The answers to these questions are simple. You know the answers.
It’s time for parents, grandparents, community leaders, pastors, youth leaders and people with influence to stand and say with one voice, “We’ve had enough!” We must believe our moral compass will lead to a stronger and healthier community. If we let others who are less interested in the moral fiber of our community influence our parents and children, the compass for the future of our community, our state, our country will lead us down the path of no moral return.
• The Rev. Scott Van Bibber is pastor of New Hope Church of the Nazarene. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.