Values without expression are dead

Mickey Mellen
2 min readNov 22, 2023

I was talking to someone a few weeks ago and they mentioned that they “never take a stance on social issues”. While it can make sense for a business to stay neutral at times, it was interesting that they personally didn’t take a stance on anything. Further, it wasn’t just a lack of a public stance, but a lack of a stance at all.

I asked “ what do you think about issue x? “ and they simply had no idea and didn’t care to dig in. I know this person to be of high character, and I have good idea of what their values are, so this reaction was surprising.

Taking it a step further are those that have a firm stance on a particular issue but choose not to do anything about it. In his classic book “ Integrity “, Henry Cloud explains those types of people like this:

Just as “faith without works is dead,” values without visible expression of those in time and space are not worth much more than an intellectual exercise and do little to affect the wake of someone’s life.

I agree, but the appropriate degree of “visible expression” can be hard to determine. We all know people that base their entire life around political or value-based issues (abortion, gun rights, BLM, etc), and I don’t think that’s generally the right answer. Fighting for what you believe in is fantastic, but if you go too hard in one direction you’re likely to alienate 50% of your friends.

Somewhere between “I don’t care” and “this is my entire identity” is the right answer, but the balance is tricky. Whatever the proper degree is, we should work to produce some visible expression to help improve the world around us.

Originally published at on November 22, 2023.



Mickey Mellen

I’m a cofounder of @GreenMellen, and I’m into WordPress, blogging and seo. Love my two girls, gadgets, Google Earth, and I try to run when I can.