There are two kinds of human behaviour: the sincere and the insincere. Sincere behaviour is the result of adherence to principles, while insincere behaviour shows a lack of principle.
Herbert W Armstrong, the founder of Plain Truth, a magazine published in the US, observed in an article that in his long professional life, he had occasion to meet hundreds and thousands of people from different denominations. But he said that if he were asked what the scarcest quality in human beings was, he would say that it was sincerity. Sincerity is the noblest of all human qualities. But very few people would measure up to this high ideal.
Insincere behaviour or unprincipled behaviour is very easy to indulge in. When you are faced with a situation, it doesn’t require much thought to take a spontaneous decision. Without applying your mind, you can follow the advice of the situation. You can easily understand what is in your interest and what is against it. So in following the dictates of the situation, you don’t need any ideal yardstick to guide you. This kind of behaviour is like that of flowing water. The contours of the surface of the earth determine its path. The one who is insincere is always ready to accede to the demands of a given situation.
In comparison sincerity is a difficult option. When you are a sincere person, you cannot afford to go against your conscience or moral norms... It is the difference between the two that makes one a difficult option and the other a very easy option. Sincerity invites you to ponder over the situation, to try to choose the best course of action, even if it is against your desires.
In terms of social requirements, principled behaviour is very important. It makes you predictable to others, who can then anticipate your behaviour before dealing with you. On the other hand, insincerity makes you an unpredictable person. It becomes difficult to understand what kind of attitude you are going to adopt in the future.
Principled behaviour makes you a true human being, while unprincipled behaviour makes you an unpredictable character, one capable of inhuman behaviour.
Unprincipled behaviour can give you some benefits, but these are of a temporary nature. Permanent benefits can be achieved only through principled behaviour. Sincere people are able to receive divine inspiration. Sincerity develops one’s spirituality, while insincerity ruins one’s personality. The insincere person fails to have spiritual experiences in his life.
The greatest drawback of unprincipled behaviour is that it is like a form of psychological suicide. One who opts for the insincere path first kills his conscience, for without suppressing your conscience you cannot be insincere in your behaviour. Conscience is a moral watchdog in your life. It is the finest gift of nature. One who goes against his conscience is making a self-destructive choice. One should keep his conscience alive by listening to his inner voice. One’s inner voice is the voice of conscience.
Going against your conscience is not easy. It is this behaviour that creates what is called tension or stress. If you want to live with a tension free mind, listen to the voice of your conscience and follow it without any reservation.
Sincerity is not a single value. Sincerity combines all good human values. Where there is sincerity, there are all kinds of moral beauty. In contrast, insincerity makes you ugly.
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