Ethics & Relationships

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 NRSV

MP900439536[1] One of the favorite courses I took in college was a course on ethics. The instructor was frail white-haired gentleman, who knew how to cut right to the heart of an issue, and then apply the principles of the Christian faith to the problems of daily living.

Now, more than 30 years later, I don’t remember any rules he taught or principles he proposed. What I do remember is a man whose life was fully given over to loving and serving Jesus Christ. He lived and breathed his faith. He walked with Jesus every step of the way. It was out of the relationship he had with Jesus Christ that his ethic developed.

My ethics are the principles by which I live. I didn’t wake up one day and choose what ethical principles I follow. My ethic gradually emerged as I spent more time growing in my faith and drawing closer to Jesus. As my relationship with Christ matured, the principles that would guide my life became clearer. When I think back, that is exactly what I saw in the life of my professor so many years ago.

MP900422584[1] In my opinion, wise people aren’t wise because they just know the right thing to do. Wise people have a relationship with their Creator. They humbly receive the love and grace offered them by their Redeemer. They submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Then, those experiences so shape and transform them that they are able to see the truth and apply it in powerful ways to the challenges and dilemmas of life.

We could argue about what’s right and wrong. In the end, whoever shouts the loudest and argues the longest will probably win. But as Christians, we are called to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Out of that relationship love will grab hold of us, open us to truth, teach us wisdom and guide our hands to doing what God wants done. In my book, that’s the best ethic of all!

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