Ethics

I have an urgent news flash for you:  Just because you know something is wrong, that doesn’t mean you’ll avoid it.

Shocking, I know.  And the corollary is also true: Just because you know you’re supposed to do something, that doesn’t mean you’ll do it.

Suppose you could interview Jonah – the Old Testament’s version of Gilligan – and ask him what the most important requirement was for prophets. What do you think he’d say?  My guess is that he would tell you that a prophet’s number one job is to speak what he hears the Lord saying to speak.

Why, then, did Jonah have to travel from the boat to the belly to the burp to the beach before he decided to do what his own standard said to do?

Resurrect a first-century Pharisee and ask him what it took to please God, and you’d probably hear something about keeping the law and prophets, serving God and walking in humility and discipline.

Why, then, did Jesus refer to the scribes and Pharisees as unwilling to lift a finger to meet a need, doing all their deeds to be noticed by men, loving the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and insisting on being called by respectful titles in public?  If serving God faithfully was so important to them, why did the Son of God warn people not to be like them?

Whenever the bad news breaks out about somebody who has shocked us with their oh-no, no-no behavior, we often ask silly questions like, “Well didn’t they know that was wrong?”  Of course they did.  Why, then, would someone violate their own standards of right and wrong?  [click to continue…]

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Your most trusted employee visits your email inbox with a request for a meeting.  When you find the time to get together, he discloses to you that he has a substance abuse problem that requires in-house treatment.  Upon further review, you discover that his abuse took place on more than one occasion while on the job – a fireable offense.  This is his first sign of trouble.  What do you do?

Your teenage daughter is at a friend’s house for a sleepover; you know the friend and are at least familiar with the friend’s parents.  You’re awakened at 1:20 a.m. by your daughter asking you to bail her out of jail.  The charge:  drunk driving.  This is the second time you have caught her drinking, but the first time you have had any evidence of drinking and driving.  How do you respond?

Your youth pastor has been rumored or accused of inappropriate relationships with girls in his youth groups – one former, one current – which he vehemently denies.  He explains that he was just showing Christian concern for someone who had been abused or hurt in the past, and his kindness was misinterpreted.  Nevertheless, Scripture is clear that there shouldn’t even be a hint of immorality or impurity among God’s people, and particularly leaders.  The youth pastor is very popular among the students, but has his critics among your adults.  Keeping him could leave you liable to a lawsuit or public accusation; firing him could decimate your youth group.  What do you do? [click to continue…]

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