Can love & ethics go together?

Having strong moral character used to be appreciated and called integrity. Now it’s often condemned and called intolerance and judgment. Ethics is about doing the right thing, not about doing whatever you want to and then calling it the right thing.

Everybody draws a line (or builds a wall) somewhere. Nobody accepts and approves every idea or behavior. Discernment is important. People without moral character will do whatever they want if they think they can avoid negative consequences.

You don’t need a textbook to understand ethics. Although frequently ignored, ethics are written on the human heart — conscience. When feelings overpower ethics, morality, and conscience, then society is in trouble.

Violating your conscience is not a human right. That’s a human wrong! (The freedom to obey your conscience is a human right.) Few people claim to be unethical or immoral. Most of us claim that whatever we do is either right or justifiable. (Is it really?)

People who want your approval often say, “Don’t judge me,” forgetting that “judging” is to either approve or disapprove. To judge is “to form an opinion about someone or something.” The only way not to judge is to keep your mind totally blank.

When wrong is called right, then ethics, morality, character, integrity, honesty, and honor are all standing on their head. Strong moral character is doing the right thing even when society is approving, applauding, and advocating wrong behavior.

If you demand that people never criticize you, you’ll miss some very helpful feedback that could improve your life. People have the right to like or dislike your behavior, but nobody has the right to be mean to you.

Life will be so much more enjoyable if you find reasons to like people instead of finding reasons to dislike them. Everyone has been hurt by people and blessed by people. Often it’s the same people. Focus on the best, not the worst.

See people you don’t like as an exciting challenge — a challenge to discover and bring out their hidden, likeable characteristics. To be afraid and/or unwilling to connect with people heart-to-heart, is too miss out on an amazing aspect of life. All people are a mixture of positive and negative motive and character. “Good people” and “bad people” are a myth

Too often we freely give people suspicion and rejection, but we make them earn our kindness. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? In this time of incivility, anger, and hostility, we need to listen to one another with God’s compassion. We can be kind without betraying our ethics.

When I’m not being intentionally kind, I can easily be unintentionally unkind. Kindness is so much better, it’s worth focusing on. “Hurt people, hurt people.” Hurting people need compassion, not rejection or retaliation. Stop the hurt-cycle with kindness. When kindness is killed, character is stolen, and conscience is numbed, evil begins to pull society’s strings.

Every human was made in God’s image (even if they don’t act like it). To disrespect people is to disrespect God. People look and act in many different ways, but, if you take the time, you can find something to like in every one of them.

God loves us just the way we are. His love calls us to align our will, behavior, and opinions to His. God’s love is so strong that it breaks His heart when the people He loves refuse to follow and obey Him.

It’s not unloving to believe that there are right and wrong desires. It’s unloving to teach people that all their desires are good. Love is not unconditional acceptance of and/or approval of people’s behavior. That’s craziness, not love. Christ didn’t come to offer His approval of the world’s lifestyles, but His alternative to them. To accept, approve of, applaud, and/or advocate wrong doing is wrong.

Words and images impact your feelings. To feel good, avoid the ones that are evil, angry and/or depressing.

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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