Personal Ethical Statement
As a minister, member of my spiritual community, and follower of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God and Savior of the World, I believe I am called by God to proclaim His love. I am also called to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God each day. (Micah 6:8). As I move through each day, I follow the path of conduct as revealed to me by scripture and when I pray the Orthodox prayer of the Optina Elders. I adopt the following principles so that by further prayer, practice, and self-discipline, and reliance on Grace, I may testify to the love of God and become a worthy example for those I seek to lead and serve each day.
The Prayer of the Optina Elders
Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.
- I will set apart Jesus Christ as Lord of this day and all of my activities, events, and relationships. I will be prepared to give an answer to any who ask about the peace I have in my day. (1 Peter 3:15)
Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Your Holy Will.
- I shall give my undivided love to God. (Deut. 6:5) I will not spend this day pursuing the false idols of wealth, comfort, security, or power.
- I will pursue the path of obedience. This includes yielding to God as He speaks to me, in accordance with the guidance He has already provided in His Word. I believe all Scripture comes from God and is useful in discerning His will and instructing others in that discernment. (Ex. 20, 2 Timothy 3:16). Wherever possible, I will use scripture to guide my own behavior to the best of my understanding, and I will counsel others by its teachings to the best of my understanding so that we may be in accordance with God’s will.
- I will yield to the authorities instituted by God for my own safety and well being, because they can guide me toward the will of God. (1 Pet. 2:13-17). This includes the civil government (Rom. 13:1-11), church government (1 Tim. 2), family government, and community relationships (Heb. 10:24-25, Eph. 5:21)
For every hour of this day, instruct and prepare me in all things.
- As a Christian, minister, teacher, and member of my community, I commit to regular and sufficient time for development of intellectual and spiritual capacities. This includes study of the bible, current thought, and the expressions of the human experience as found in art, music, and literature so that I may better apprehend God’s nature and its daily revelation to people; and so also that I may use my skills, talents, and gifts to bring glory and honor to Christ and my community.
- I will manage my time, resources, relationships, and gifts so that I can maintain vitality in my ministry as well as physical, emotional, mental, and relational health in my family and community. (Eph. 5:15)
Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Your Holy Will.
- To the best of my ability, I will respond to the events and news of the day with peace, grace, hope, joy, and love, through prayer and practicing the presence of God.
- I will not complain (Phil 2:14) and I will rejoice and offer prayers of thanksgiving in response to ALL things. (Phil. 4:4-7)
- I will communicate with others in a way that facilitates their tranquil acceptance of the events and news of the day, humbling considering the needs of others as I discern where and how to speak. (Phil. 2:3)
Govern, Lord, my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.
- I will make every effort to be self-controlled and alert, preparing for action, and controlling my thought life so that I may grow in peace and obedience, both internally and by my actions. (1 Pet. 5:8, 2 Cor. 10:5)
- I will make every effort to speak the truth, as best as I understand it, in love. (Eph 4:15)
- I will bless, not curse, either in thought to action, those who offend, grieve, or persecute me. (Rom. 12:14)
- I will seek to speak only what is helpful in building others up according to their needs. (Eph 4.29)
When things unforeseen occur, let me not forget that all comes down from You.
- I will work to remember that God has a plan for my day and my life, and that God is active in arranging my circumstances for my good and His glory. (Prov. 19:1, Prov. 16:9)
Teach me to behave sincerely and reasonably toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.
- Family is defined as both biological and those assigned to me by God, discerned through prayer, in my spiritual community. (Eph 4:25)
- I will seek peace and pursue it in my community, regardless of my preference or feelings toward another person. (1 Pet 3:11). I will not hold grudges or leave a conflict unsolved. (Eph 4:26-27)
- I will be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (Jas 1:19)
- I will strive in my communication and relationships to be pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere, so that as a Christian, minister, and member of my community and family I may exemplify the wisdom and righteousness of God. (Jas 3:17)
Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.
- In my profession, I will work as unto the Lord, doing all things in the name of Jesus. This means working to the best of my ability, as efficiently as possible. (Col. 3:17 &23).
- When the demands of the day tempt me to despair, I will not. Instead, I will remember that Christ is my strength. (Phil 4:13)
- I will aspire to live quietly, and to mind my own affairs, and to work with my hands, so that I may walk properly before outsiders and be able to contribute to my family and community. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
- I will take every opportunity this day affords to care for widows and orphans as they cross my path, and to show mercy to both the poor in body and poor in spirit.
Guide, Lord, my will today and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love.