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Thursday, December 27, 2012

What would YOU do?

Is it OK to _________ ??????
When should I _______________?????????

Life is full of grey areas.
And grey areas generally mean, "using your brain." If you are like me, you have on more than one occasion thought, "What is the right thing to do in this situation? Unfortunately, many of us look to the TV; our group of friends or to society in general to figure out how we should act or if something is morally acceptable.  I know that for many, this is our default setting; but seriously, how do you make moral decisions in life and know that what you did right was the right thing?

Since life does not come with a manual and you do not have me to chaperon you around, I'll share with you something that guides me in my daily life.*
It is 3 questions that are contained in this helpful verse found in the book of I Corinthians. "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.
All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."

Remember, the focus of today's post is helping you live ethically when you really do not know how. Therefore, a note about this verse is in order: this verse isn't as much about what to think more than it is about how to think. I like to tell people that living a morally upright life is more like a Treasure Map than a Road Map.  A road map is full of millions of details, destinations and drives while a treasure map is oftentimes sparse with a few landmarks and the famous "X" marks the spot.  The verse above is there for you when you are standing in between the landmark and the "X".   

Here are the three questions with a brief explanation:  
The first question you should be asking yourself is: "Is it Lawful?"
Here you will be thinking about if you will be breaking any laws (which not only includes the civil government's laws but God's moral law).  This first question is a bit tricky and is not something that you can just afford to gloss over. The reason is due to the fact that there will be times when our modern laws either do not match up with the moral law or worse, stand in direct conflict with them. This is why Martin Luther King Jr. taught that a "just law is a man made code that squares with moral law or the Law of God."

Next, follow up with this question, "Is it helpful?" You have to think about will what you are about to do uplifting?  What are your motives?  Will your action(s) benefit people? Etc. Think of yourself, your family & your community. This oftentimes, will help lead you in the right direction when making decisions.

Finally, ask, "Is it enslaving?"  Here you want to ascertain whether or not an act could become obsessive, out of control, or if over time you will become engrossed in something that started off innocent -but now has hooked you in.  This happens a lot by the way; you get involved with something that is at first innocent, then over the months and years, the tables have turned and now you are owned by a person, thought or substance.  This is why the Puritans used to say that sin is like a bait on a hook intended to lure you in. If you  bite, the hook will sink into your mouth, then you will get dragged to your death.

Above, you have three very helpful questions that will help you navigate the uncertain terrain of life.

*As a side note, if I was going to add in one more addition to the above, I would throw in the importance of surrounding  yourself with wise men and women that you can go to and discuss your dilemmas.

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