Compassionate Decision Making
As a spiritual mentor, I am sometimes asked to help people make big decisions. They come to me seeking a spiritual perspective on what God would have them do. I can’t give them a certain answer, but I can listen as they think out loud and ask additional questions to help them find clarity. After our conversations, I hope they feel more equipped to make their own decisions. It takes vulnerability for someone to admit they aren’t sure what to do. The idea of getting vulnerable may come with a fear of appearing weak. But, as I talk with people, I see it as the ultimate sign of strength and a connection to God.
To make an ethical decision it requires a pause. Pause to pray for guidance. Pause to consult others. Pause to consider all of the possible consequences. Pauses are where we experience vulnerability because our mind might be changed. We admit we might be wrong.
Here is a place to start with decision-making vulnerability. The University of California San Diego has this list of questions posted on their website. I thought it would be interesting for each of us to run through this list as we weigh a decision.
Does your decision conflict with core ethical values? (USCD has determined theirs to be trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship…what are your core values?)
Think of someone whose moral judgment you respect. What would that person do?
How will your decision affect others?
Ask yourself: Are my actions legal?
Are there regulations, rules, or policies that restrict your choices/ actions?
Would your decision be perceived as unethical?
How would your decision look if it were reported on the news or in another public forum?
What would a reasonable person do? How would they perceive your decision?
Would you be proud of your choice if your child were to find out? Would you want them to make the same choice?
Could you rationally and honestly defend your decision?
Will you sleep soundly tonight?
What if you and I get more vulnerable and question the ethics of every decision we make? What happens? I believe we contribute to a more compassionate world.