Joni explains how we often have double standards when it comes to morality and ethics, but we should be righteous both in our public and private lives.
Wow, what an election year this has turned out to be! Here we are smack-in-the-middle of the political season - even many believers have rolled-up-their-sleeves and jumped right into the fray. I was listening in on a political discussion after church the other day, and, I tell you, with so many disparaging remarks going back and forth, it seemed these friends had lost all their Christian bearings. It didn't matter if their comments were democrat or republican... they sounded worse than the loudest pundits you'd hear on TV.
It made me think, why is it that we make requirements of others that we don't keep ourselves? I mean, take this political season for instance. So many of us Christians work so hard to wipe out social evils like pornography, abortion, and homosexuality. We're up on the latest laws before our State Assemblies... we know what cases are going before the Supreme Court... we write our local school board if they're considering a curriculum that's morally off-base. All this is good, but at the same time, sometimes our personal morality leaves so much to be desired.
Then on the other hand, there are others whose personal morality is impeccable. When it comes to their private ethics, they watch their Ps and Qs at church and at home. But when it comes to their social ethics, it's another story: racism and prejudice abound.
As followers of the Lord Jesus, we can learn something about ourselves in this election year, because cannot have one kind of ethic for ourselves and another for society. We cannot demand a strong morality in our culture and yet carry on with a personal morality-or I should say immorality-which dishonors God. If we do, it's a double standard, and we know what God's Word says about that. James 1 puts it this way, "[Such a] man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."
So let's not be so quick to point out what is wrong with everyone else, while forgetting the unrighteousness in our own lives. Because what we do in private deeply affects what happens in public. The man who is faithful to his wife while exercising bigotry toward his neighbor is no better than the adulterer who crusades for social justice. What God requires is morality with a capital M, both personal and social. God calls for an ethic that is consistent. No matter how you look at it, nobody can have their ethical cake and eat it, too... without getting moral indigestion.
So pray with me right now, would you? Join me in saying, "Father, reveal to us when we say one thing and do another. Please show us any double standards in our lives. And help us not to come across with a self-righteous attitude when we talk about politics, personal morality, or social ethics. Rather than be disparaging, help us to remember to pray for those who are campaigning for office. May we not only look at what our country needs, but may we examine our own hearts. And please be Lord of our thoughts and actions, who we are in private, and what we're like in public. May others in our country - even those in the political process - may our neighbors and co-workers, friends and family, truly know that we are Christians by our love for one another. We pray in the strong name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
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