Don’t be a boiling frog slipping down a slope.
I am sure you have heard the “boiling frog” fable. If not, it is a brief fable that can be applied to many areas of our life. The fable tells us that if you try to throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will quickly jump out to avoid being boiled alive. But if, on the other hand, you place a frog in a pot of lukewarm water, and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will not notice the difference nor perceive the danger and will ultimately be cooked to death.
I have no idea if this is actually true about frogs. It’s just a fable after all. The point is that if we are suddenly thrown into a drastic change, one that is dangerous, we will immediately flee the situation. But if instead our circumstances change ever so slightly over time, we won’t notice the changes. Eventually, we could be in a horrible set of circumstances, a dangerous place, without even realizing how we got there. Then we are fighting for our very lives to get out, if it is not too late already.
What does this have to do with living a moral life? Well, have you ever heard of the slippery slope? Same thing as the frog fable. If we start off by excusing ourselves from one small, seemingly inconsequential immoral act, that opens the gateway to another, and then another. Before we know it, we are in a place that we could never have imagined ourselves being in. Don’t allow yourself to start excusing small, seemingly inconsequential immoral acts.
Living morally requires nonstop vigilance. This is an area where we cannot let down our guard for a moment. Yet as soon as I say that, I realize that we are human and that humans are flawed creatures. So while we must be ever vigilant, we must also have the fortitude to get back on that horse when we do fail, because even the best of us will fail occasionally.
Bonus Life Tip: Character is what you do when no one is looking.
“He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds.” ~ Dag Hammarskjold