18 Most Important Moral Values with Examples

Everyone has a moral compass and a set of standards that they live by. Morals are formed out of a person’s values, and these values are the foundation of a person’s ability to discern between right and wrong. Some examples of moral values include faithfulness in marriage, loyalty to a company, love and respect for family members, and commitment to a skill that carries meaning. Morals build on values to form specific, context-driven rules that govern a person’s behavior. Here is a list of the most important values.

1. Love the Lord with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength
The Ten Commandments are the basis for societies founded on Christian principles. The first four commandments specifically tell believing Christians to love God and to keep Him as their ultimate priority at all times. Christians are instructed never to worship any other gods, nor to make any graven images such as idols. Christians are also instructed never to take God’s name in vain. The Sabbath Day is to be remembered. In Mark 12:30 Jesus Christ says to love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Also, in John 14:15 Jesus says “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

2. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
The other six commandments specifically tell believing Christians to love other people and to treat them as they would want to be treated. In the world, it is a crime to commit murder and to steal anything from anyone. It doesn’t pay to be a thief. Committing adultery is the act of betraying the love one has for a husband or wife. Bearing false witness is the act of lying. Coveting the possessions of someone else is the act of envying or being jealous of another person’s things. Generally speaking, if you want to be loved and respected by others, show them love and respect.

3. Honesty is the Best Policy
People trust each other when they know they can be honest with each other. It is impossible to trust someone who is always dishonest with you about issues. Honesty is a moral value that most people in society have because they know that telling lies won’t benefit them in the long run. Honesty is the most important value to have in the workplace, for example. If you are selling a product to a customer, you want to be honest about that product and explain what it can do to benefit that customer. If you are working with bosses or other employees, you want to be honest about your performance at work and how you feel things are going in the company.

4. If You Break It, You Bought It
This is a moral value where customers in a store are kept in check. Also known as the Pottery Barn Rule, this is regularly used as a store policy where if a customer causes any damage to any products that are on store shelves they are automatically held responsible for the cost of that damage. This moral value teaches responsibility on the part of customers, encouraging them to be more careful when handling property that isn’t theirs. Alternatively, the phrase “if you break it, you bought it” can be used in political or military arenas where if the person in question creates a problem, he or she is obligated to do the necessary work to correct it.

5. Being a Team Player Whenever Possible
People who are blatantly selfish can easily be seen, and selfish people often don’t work well on a team. There is that phrase “There’s no I in team”, and it is accurate because teamwork is the act of putting aside the selfishness that you have. People who work on a team know that no matter the job they are performing, it isn’t all about them as individuals. When people are called to be team players they are asked to provide help as one part of the solution. Consider one literal sense of being a team player, which would be professional sports and how teammates in baseball, basketball, and soccer have to work together to win a game.

6. Standing Up For Those Who Can’t Stand Up for Themselves
This is a moral value where showing compassion and empathy for other people takes center stage. Standing up for people that are vulnerable can mean many things, such as they are physically or mentally disabled and they can’t function like you can, so you lend a helping hand. In other situations, you see people being physically or verbally abused by others, and you step in to protect those attacked people. When it comes to court cases, lawyers are hired to defend clients that are in a legal bind and they don’t have enough legal knowledge to defend themselves. The willingness to put yourself out there and act on behalf of someone who can’t will be recognized and applauded by others.

7. Adjusting and Compromising
Sometimes people can be stubborn and set in their ways. They have stuck to a routine that has worked for them and they don’t see the need to change it. Making adjustments to what you normally do and compromising in certain situations is a moral value that promotes restraint and the ability to see the big picture. If a routine you have stuck to for many years is the reason why you are beginning to struggle at work, or why you are not making progress in educational endeavors, then you have to be willing to make some changes. For example, if a riding lawn mower cuts your yard’s grass easier than a push mower, then make that adjustment.

8. Being Kind and Generous to Others
Generosity is a moral value that refers to the ability of people to share what they have. This doesn’t just mean material possessions but also immaterial aspects like joy, optimism, and appreciation. There will be times when there isn’t a pressing need to be generous to other people, but you show kindness and generosity anyway because you feel compelled to do so. For example, if a person doesn’t want his or her retirement from a job to be celebrated, but you set up a surprise retirement party for that person anyway, it’s an act of kindness that will be appreciated.

9. Expressing Your Gratitude
Being grateful for the things you have is an important moral value because your willingness to appreciate things, both small and large, will take you a long way in life. Showing genuine appreciation involves being able to put yourself in the shoes of someone else. An example of showing a lack of appreciation is an aunt working hard to find good gifts for her nephew. When opening the gifts the nephew would often say things like “This isn’t what I wanted” or “I don’t really like this.” Remarks like these can hurt the feelings of someone close to you. When you are given something, express your gratitude by saying “Thank you” to the other person.

10. Maintaining Self-Control
It is often hard to tolerate people who love to bully you around. It is also difficult to keep your composure around these people and take the high road, so to speak. This moral value relates to staying in control of your words and behavior, especially in situations where your levels of stress are raised. For example, you are trying to concentrate on your task in the workplace, and you have an annoying co-worker who loves to use profanities in his daily vocabulary. What is worse is that he bombards you with rants and jokes filled with profanities. It is best to stay calm and politely tell this co-worker that you are not interested in engaging his kind of conversation.

11. Having Self-Respect
It is one thing to humble yourself before other people and to show them the respect they deserve. However, it is another thing to act like a doormat for others. People with a bullying mentality don’t always verbally express the fact that they are bullies. They sometimes reveal themselves to be bullies through their actions. For example, if someone is trying to force you to perform a humiliating task, and you know that person is intending to humiliate you with this task, this is where you speak up. There are times when you respect your own boundaries and confront the bullies on their humiliation tactics.

12. Finding Opportunities to Express Your Creativity
This moral value relates to you showcasing your more artistic side and using your brainpower to illustrate your ideas to others. For example, you want to paint a picture of a scene featuring a man going fishing at a pond, relaxing in a chair. That scene illustrates your idea of spending a calm and peaceful day. Arts and crafts strongly represent a person’s creativity, and when one can apply artistic skills to a task, others can be encouraged to express their creativity as well. Creativity can also mean making changes to already established things, such as someone making new pieces and rules for the game of chess.

13. Being Self-Motivated and Self-Confident
Motivation can come from many factors such as people and certain situations. In the workplace, an employee who is self-motivated to do a good job for his or her boss is likely to go far in the company. Employers look for employees who require little supervision and direction to complete tasks in a timely and professional manner. Once a self-motivated employee understands their responsibility on the job, they will proceed without any prompting from others. Self-confidence is often recognized as the key factor between someone who is successful and someone who fails. A self-confident person inspires others and isn’t afraid to ask questions on topics where they feel they need more knowledge.

14. Never Give Up
In childhood, people are taught that whenever they have to deal with failure in anything they participate in. Some projects taken on by people will be successful, and others will be failures. Even when it looks like someone is going to fail in a project, he or she has the integrity to finish the project. Another example is in a marathon race a runner is about to cross the finish line and then suddenly the runner falls and suffers an injury. The runner can easily quit the race and get help, but having the integrity to finish what was started, the runner crosses the finish line anyway. The message this value sends is to never quit, no matter what happens.

15. Try to Think a Few Moves Ahead
This is a moral value that promotes forward-thinking. An obvious example is the game of chess where it is encouraged for players to be thinking a few moves ahead of their opponents. Another example in everyday life is where you have a prime suspect in a case who is believed to be breaking the law by using forged money to buy things. To catch him in the act you plan ahead by placing a surveillance camera in a store where he often commits this act. In other situations, like you want to block off easy access to your backyard because of nosy neighbors so you make a fence, thinking a few moves ahead is needed for personal security reasons.

16. Being Patient
Not everyone has the patience to wait things out. Patience is a part of self-control where even though nerves are being tested, there is the understanding of a person that if he or she lets a process go the way it is supposed to go, the end result will be a favorable one. When people show a complete lack of patience with any project in their lives, everything with that project often becomes disastrous. One example is someone taking an important test to get certification for a profession. If the test is untimed, that person should be patient enough to answer most questions correctly.

17. Returning Favors
When someone does something nice for you, in response to that person’s kindness you feel compelled to return the favor. Sometimes just saying “Thank you” to the person who thought of you isn’t enough. An example of this is when someone takes you out to lunch and buys a meal for you. After this lunch, you remember this act of kindness and you want to return the favor to that other person. In response, you can buy that other person’s lunch, or you can do something different such as giving him or her a shopping gift card.

18. Aspiring to Learn
Challenging yourself is a motivational tool that can be rewarding if you follow through with the challenge. You may not have any knowledge in certain areas but you have the desire to learn more about something that interests you. For example, you know very little about automobile mechanics but you want to learn more about fixing cars. You watch a video about a mechanic who has fixed cars for years and listen to his compelling story. That story inspires you to start learning, so you pick up books about mechanics and study online. Your aspiration to learn new things can sometimes motivate others to learn new things themselves.


Morality must be upheld in order for a person to have a strong value system. Without any moral values a society of people, or an entire country, will lead itself to a state of anarchy, where lawlessness and chaos will reign supreme. A nation without laws isn’t really a nation, and a person without any moral values has no real direction in his or her life. Generally speaking, a moral value system consists of honesty, compassion, courage, modesty, and forgiveness, and on top of all this, a person has a love for the truth and will fight for the truth at all times.

Author Biography
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.