Morality…


moralityI’m not sure about you, but I have always bristled when people used the word morality. It seems to be a word that doesn’t ever appear in a neutral sense, but rather in the context of one person claiming to be better than another person. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “He seems to be a man of low moral character,” which is code for a person who does not do what the judge presiding feels is right or good. But, who decides what is right and what is wrong? Some philosophers claim that all things are good dependent upon the context. Others define good as everything their church reports as permissible behavior with all the rest being sin. Multiply the number of churches by the number of differing opinions and you end up with an ocean’s worth of so-called sin. Is that what morality really is? It seems morality in its basic form would be the distinction between right and wrong. But, I think it goes a step further than that. The question that begs is why are some things considered good while other things are reported as bad? Assuming God to be the ultimate authority on right versus wrong, would it make sense for Him to arbitrarily decide a good act from a bad act? Further, would it be logical for the distinction between good and bad to be simply based upon a code of approved behavior without some reason or logic back of it? And even deeper, would God’s plan for the man He designed complete with instructions on how best to live life, list all the things that a man enjoys as bad things leaving those things he was generally indifferent about as good? Or, has religion skewed our views concerning what good really is as opposed to what bad really is in the crucible of our existence? Thus, morality, what is right and what is wrong, must be based on more than an arbitrary set of rules for living made up to annoy, restrict and punish mankind. Morality, in its truest sense serves rather as a source of preservation defining what will lead to blessings and abundance protecting us from those things that lead to misery and loss. 

The problem with morality for morality’s sake alone is it fails to properly inform and instruct the one being given the rules. Even a child performs better when you tell him why and is rightfully exasperated when you have no reason at all. Rules for rules sake frustrate and defeat people. Further, abiding by a set of rules because someone (in authority) said so is equally frustrating. How many good, kind people have been manipulated into behaviors they do not want to do because of the (false) threat of losing favor with God? You want to control a man? Get him to believe that what you tell him to do is the only way to maintain God’s favor and he will do whatever you ask. As such, a man or a woman needs a standard of truth outside himself (and the one speaking) in order to properly discern what is right and what is actually wrong. It wasn’t that long ago that certain churches said dancing was a sin! The Bible is that source of truth for a human. Of course people are going to introduce other bibles or at minimum claim the Bible is full of inaccuracies and myths. If someone ever tells you that, ask them to show you one. The point is you and I have to have some standard of truth outside of our own opinions. The problem with our own opinions is that they are heavily influenced by what we feel and feelings are no guarantee for truth as a great man used to say. In the Bible, God has a reason for everything He says, where He says it, when He says it and even how He says it. There is nothing random or happenstance about it. Now someone is going to start exclaiming, “Well men wrote the Bible!” Well, yes they did, but what they wrote was by revelation from God. If you believe in God and I’m assuming you do, don’t you think He might be smart enough to preserve what He had written? At the end of the day, what we are after concerning morality is what brings us good results versus what brings us bad results. As such, what God says is good, is good. Conversely, what God says is wrong or evil, is so even if you and I never understand the reason why. But make no mistake, there is always a reason why…

Life for human beings began in the spiritual realm. God is Spirit. When He formed, made and created people He did it as a spiritual being, indeed The Spiritual being. That is not to say that you were in heaven before you came to earth as that is not supported biblically. Instead the basis of life is spiritual. There is a spiritual realm. In the spiritual realm there is good and there is evil. The spiritual realm affects life on earth. God knows everything as He is all-knowing. As such, He knows what will be good for you and bring you joy and happiness and He also knows what things you should avoid because they are going to end up hurting you or worse. This is the purpose for morality. There is nothing arbitrary about it. God does not make rules for rules sakes alone nor does He seek something from us that we do not want to give. Instead He is a loving, heavenly Father seeking the good of all. Similar to when we were children, there were some things that our parents warned us not to do. We may not have understood the reason why at the time, but later the reality was made plain for us by our experience in living. Some things we did anyway, as you already know and we suffered as a result of it. God, who made the pattern, works the same way. It is far better for us to do our best to avoid the things that God says are evil rather than having to learn via pain and suffering. We may not yet understand the reason why, but as Emerson aptly penned, “We need only obey.” The reason people have such a problem with this is because they’ve been surrounded and corralled by a whole host of people seeking to tell them what they need to obey and as happened every time with me, they bristled. For this reason, you and I need that standard of truth. The thing a man or a woman cannot see is the spiritual reality of a thing. God loves all people and continues to love all people, but He does not, as any parent worth his salt, want them to suffer. For this reason, He has given us His spirit so we might understand the things that are spiritual and as a result no longer have to spend the rest of our lives getting burned on every hot stove we encounter because we do not know better or cannot immediately see the reasons why. 

Morality and morals are not bad things, they are good things. What is right and what is wrong is not arbitrary and up for discussion according to our opinions at the time. Instead morality serves to keep us safe from harm and the things that actively seek to bring us woe. God sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions (Psalms 107). You do not have to spend the rest of your life bumping around dazed and confused. You do not have to rely on good luck nor fear bad luck for that matter. It is available for you to know and understand what is going on and why. You do not have to figure out life on your own nor do you need to somehow pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. God made everything we need presently available to us so that we could live successfully. Evil and wrong are going to get us at times. We are going to disobey and we are going to learn tough, painful lessons, often by ignorance. All of us are going to sin and do the things God warned us not to do. That is all part of being a human being. God is not after our perfection. He is after a willing, humble heart that is is finally willing to listen and hear what He wants us to know. For this reason, morality, true biblical morality is never a bad thing. Instead it is the source of the greatest liberation we could ever experience. We are all weary of the sting of evil and wrong. Don’t you want to experience the good? 

Just some good thoughts…

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