Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lent Day 19: Good people

"I support him 100 percent," said Irene Folstrom, who said she dated [Tiger] Woods in the mid-1990s when they were undergrads at Stanford University. "Of course, he was unfaithful and he has his faults, but he is really a good person." (CNN, March 10, 2010)

Culture has turned morals upside down. Seemingly, all it takes to be a 'good' person is to have friends who will speak up for us and defend us, regardless of our behavior. In today's world, killing pre-birth children is fine, but disturbing the nest of turtles on the Galapagos Islands is wrong. Living together outside of marriage is a 'good test' for compatibility, but littering is immoral.

Scripture lays out clear principles for human happiness and well-being. How many of these are important to our culture? How often do we look the other way because people we like - 'good people' - are setting aside moral choices for willful lawlessness that a few generations ago would have been roundly condemned by society? Such common-sense morality includes:

*Venerate only God - others will disappoint us with their imperfections.
*Don't steal - everything belongs to God, who provides for our needs.
*Tell the truth - honesty even when it hurts us spares others much grief and show us to be trustworthy.
*Avoid lust and adultery - humans thrive with faithful, trustworthy love that brings security to a family. (A family consists of one man, one woman, and children - don't confuse the kids with multiple mamas or papas.)
*Watch the tongue; don't gossip - we can destroy a reputation; many words lead to sin.
*Eat and drink in moderation - excesses of gluttony, alcoholism, and substance abuse destroy a healthy body.
*Honor parents and others in authority - harmony and order in society depend on it.

The "dos" and "do nots" of scripture are simple. They are not designed to prohibit pleasure. Rather, like the lines on a highway, they provide boundaries that allow us to live life in community with direction, fullness, and abundance.

Which of God's principles are you most tempted to break? Look back to see where that broken part of your character has produced unwanted consequences or destruction. Ask God's help to align yourself with his wise guidelines today.

Read more:
*Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. Psalm 37:27-29 NLT

*(David) "Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice." Psalm 51:4, 7–8 NLT

*When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15 NIV