The Four-Way Test of the things we Think, Say or Do. First, is it the Truth?

As I noted in the first article in this series I was speaking to a men's study when a discussion broke out on "right-living." I stated that a person can choose to live righteously from a theological foundation or from a creed or belief in something as simple as the Rotary Four-Way Test. I doubled down by saying that I, an ordained minister and card-carrying theologian, sometimes falls back on the very simple Rotary test rather than the voluminous theological training I hold. This confession was met with a mixture of "Dude, that is amazing," to "I knew you were a liberal!" In reality I'm neither amazing nor liberal. I am human and often in a hurry and I can contextualize and syncretize with the best of 'em. The Rotary Four Way Test is built off the chassis of most every faith group's ethical underpinning and is as sound as an Eagle Scout walking an eighty year old woman across a busy intersection during rush hour. I am fine using the Rotary test as a guide for ethical daily living and continuing to be a dutiful person of faith. A purist might disagree, but a purist is rarely worried about being fair to all concerned!
A good Rotarian must ask his or herself if the things they think, say or do is fair to all concerned. This strongly suggests that self-serving interests have no place in the life of a Rotarian. This makes sense if the first test focuses upon the truth in a given situation. Fairness following truth seems to be a natural sequence and fit of ethics in every field other than say, organized crime. Being a person of consistent truth and fairness is certainly not the easy route, in fact it is often the path of greatest resistance. The proverbial high road can also be lonely and unrewarding, at least in the traditional sense. Doing the right thing is a reward in and of itself and is simply what we Rotarians are supposed to do. Why? Because we are Rotarians. Enough said. So whether faith drives you or your Rotary pledge drives you or a combination of the two drives you, you simply can't go wrong with asking the question every day, "Are the things I think, say and do fair to all concerned?" Those twelve words can change the world!
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you're a good person is like expecting a bull not to attack you because you're a vegetarian.
Dennis Wholey
Michael McCullar