Sincerity of Heart and Purpose
For years, I’ve worked with individuals whose lives became a shipwreck because of their lack of character. They taught me the important lessons we all need to learn to lead lives of integrity. I call these essential lessons the “10 Commandments” of sound character development. I’ve been posting on them for the past several weeks. And the final learning imperative advocates sincerity of heart and purpose.
Revisiting the Commandments
We overcome our innate egocentricity by being mindful of the world around us and the impact of our presence and actions. We avoid attitudes of entitlement by being grateful for the many gifts we’ve been given. And we avoid both ego-inflation and unhealthy inferiority by forging a balanced sense of self-worth.
We overcome a host of problems by steadfastly revering the truth. And we elevate ourselves to a higher plane of existence by moving beyond the mere pursuit of pleasure. We become socially responsible by rightly thinking before acting and mindfully directing our will. We constructively manage conflicts by tempering and managing our aggressive instincts. And we help make the world a better place by treating others with civility and positive regard.
The 10 Commandments Work Together
The principles or virtues the commandments promote work together. So they naturally overlap and complement each other. And if someone observes one or two, it’s more likely they’ll observe others as well. All in all, character is somewhat like a watercolor portrait. Artists often paint on moist paper, in part, so that the colors will blend and meld. So it is with mature character. Healthy characters act out of all these virtues at once. The characteristics seem to come together seemingly effortlessly. But in reality, each requires skill and practice.
The 10th Commandment
The 10th commandment is an extension of the others. And in a sense, it also speaks to all of them. It exhorts us to have sincerity of heart and purpose. Sincerity of heart and purpose means to act genuinely, honestly, wholeheartedly, earnestly, and fervently. It means to act without pretense or self-deception. Such sincerity is more than merely “meaning well.” It’s being free of hypocrisy and falseness. It’s being authentic, genuine.
Pure motives come from an honest, loving heart. We might never fully live up to this ideal. But we must still be honest about who we are if we’re ever to approach that ideal. People of sincere heart and purpose act openly in the light. They act without manipulation or self-deception. They don’t hesitate to act in the light because they are of the light. And their goodness shines as a beckoning beacon to others. We desperately need such individuals in our generally heartless age.
I’ll have much more to say about the 10th Commandment in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Character Matters will be live this Sunday January 22, so I can take your calls. The program airs at 7 pm Eastern (4 pm Pacific). To join the conversation, call in at (718) 717-8296 or via Skype.
Read more about the 10 Commandments in Character Disturbance. And look for my new book on the topic this spring.