Or as Frank Sinatra says, "Do be, do be, do!"
One of the big emphasises in this class has been on the difference between rule-keeping ethics, and character-based ethics. In other words, most ethical systems in the world today focus on doing the right thing at the right time. In this class, we've been encouraged to consider how God has invited us first to become the right kind of people through a reconciled relationship with Him. We're in such a hurry to do the right thing that we rush past our call to be the right kind of person. If we continually ground our life in relationship with God, our behavior will be life-giving, as opposed to straight rule-keeping, which can often ignore the greater life intended behind the rules.
A great example of this is the movie Les Miserables, which we watched in class today. (Yes, this is a GREAT CLASS!) In this movie, the detective Javert is a classic example of someone who always does the "right thing" by keeping the law and obeying every rule. On the other hand, Jean Valjean is a convict who has a life-changing experience when an old priest gives him a second shot at life. Being changed, he devotes his life to doing good for others by being the right kind of person. Throughout the movie, Jean Valjean violates many of his cultures "rules", but it becomes obvious that he lives a moral life filled with goodness. Javert, on the other hand, who never breaks the law, has a life-less, joy-less existance. In the end, he is so confronted and confused by the behavior of Jean Valjean that he...well, I won't tell you the end!
I guess what I am truly reflecting on tonight is that we, if you consider yourself a Christ-follower, maybe think that the world needs to see us doing all the right things- keeping laws, etc. But the kind of behavior that always catches people off guard is that which comes from a new heart and a new spirit. We "be" in order that we may "do". Getting these out of order is a crucial mistake.
ETHICAL QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Are there moral "absolutes"? Meaning, are there ethical principles that are true in every setting and circumstance because they are a natural part of God's created order? More on this tomorrow...