I once asked the question, “If you do not hold to the teaching of Scripture, what or who sets your moral and ethical standards?” I would suggest that whatever serves your self-interest is the answer to that question. And that self-interest takes all sorts of different forms. Most often it is about what gives you a financial advantage, but it can also include such things as feeling secure, or what gives the greater pleasure, or even what pleases or feels comfortable.
Now I acknowledge that on the surface it seems quite a simplistic answer, yet in some ways that is what we see happening in our society. We have just had a general election and the results show that the nation is split fairly evenly between two of the major parties. I suggest the reason in part for this is that neither major parties have a moral or ethical compass and hence their differences are minimal. Sure, their economic policies may differ a little, but morally and ethically, there is virtually no difference.
For instance, both accuse each other of not being truthful (which ironically is probably true). Neither party will say that ‘same-sex’ marriage is wrong. Neither party knows what to do with the ‘boat’ people. Both parties receive funding for their campaigns from sources with all sorts of strings attached. But this is what happens when political parties have no moral or ethical compass. The determining factor of policy and direction and funding and even new legislation, is not what is in keeping with God’s law, nor what is morally and ethically good for our country, or ‘boat’ people, but what will gain them the most votes and keep them in power with their lucrative salaries and perks.
Interestingly, the same moral and ethical compass has in a large part also disappeared from society in general, hence the need for various ‘watchdog’ committees.
Now just imagine for a moment if our society acknowledged the moral and ethical values taught in Scripture and strived to uphold them. What a great blessing that would be. For instance, politicians would speak the truth and only introduce legislation that is in keeping with God’s word. Businesses would ensure that they are truthful in their marketing (Col 3:9) and would be careful to ensure their employees are treated equally and with respect, and are paid their wages and entitlements (Rom 4:4; Eph 6:9). Employees would give their best to an employer, doing their work as though serving the Lord Himself (Eph 6:5-8). Families would honour, love and care for each other (Eph 6:1-4). Courting couples would ensure that their behaviour is respectful and would not participate in immorality or awaken love until the proper time (SoS 2:7). Our teenagers would know that orgies and drunken parties are not for them but would rather be filled with the Holy Spirit (Rom 13:13; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3, 18). Crude and course joking would be out and only what builds up would be in! (Eph 4:29). The list is endless!
The Psalmist prayed that God’s word would be a lamp to his feet and a light for his path (Psa 119:105 emphasis added). We should do no less, for when we accept God’s word as truth and instructive for daily living, our moral and ethical values will take a turn for the better. We will inevitably become ‘other-people’ centered. We will become unselfish rather than selfish, serving rather than always being served, giving rather than always taking. In fact, we will be obeying God’s law, to not only love Him above all, but also our neighbour as we love ourselves. JZ.