Forget Morality!

~I have two more parts to do for “Equality…or Equity?”  However, I thought I’d throw some thoughts about morality before we get to part 7.  So, let’s get these thoughts typed out. ~

“For so many people that I know… Christianity is a religion about morals. And they will even talk about Jesus. And they will say kids need to know about Jesus so they won’t smoke, drink, or chew, or go with girls that do, and all that kind of thing. And I kinda go, ‘That’s not why people need to know about Jesus. The only reason—the only possible excuse for talking about Jesus is because we need a Savior.’ ”

Rich Mullins

The Moral Code

“Here is how a Christian should behave…”, encompasses a list of do’s and don’ts that make people think of God as an overbearing taskmaster, ready to strike the first offender who dares to transgress His plan for a perfect world.  This list includes…don’t steal, don’t lust, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t dress immodestly, no pre-marital sex, don’t watch R-rated movies, no cussing, no anger, no envy…blah, blah blah.

Sure are a whole lot of “don’ts”, in there.  Has God really created us with a lifetime supply list of do’s and don’ts?  If being a Christian means we are now obligated to live according to a specific code in order to please God, then is it any wonder that some people want nothing to do with God or the Bible.

Now, listen here, you.  Morals are good.  God does want us to abstain from some things .  It is important to live a life pleasing to Him.  We have moral laws for a reason, you know.  

This time, I mostly agree with you.

What?  You do?

I said that I mostly agree with you.  There are a couple of points I would like to clear up.

Here it comes.

You said that we have moral laws for a reason.  Well, I have an issue with that idea of law.  There is also that part of pleasing Him…that kinda gets me, too.  I will approach these together, as many people equate obeying law with pleasing God.

The Law was not given as a verbal baby-sitter or God’s way of keeping people under His thumb.  In a nutshell, the people wanted religion and, with religion, comes rites and rules.  So, it was really a consequence of what the people wanted.

Morality and Me

We impose legalism upon ourselves every time we feel we are pleasing God by our behavior.  While God desires we would live according to His design for us, He is no less pleased with us because we miss the mark.  We cannot live perfectly and we will fail and God is fully aware of that.  He cannot and will not be disappointed in us.  His grace goes far beyond our limited ability to live a “perfect” life.

This is no excuse for going headlong into sin.  As we read in the start of Romans 6, “1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

You and I will not get any closer to God by living a certain way.  However, if something is in the way of our relationship with Him, we need to change or remove whatever that may be.  This might be a sin, an object, an attitude – if it blocks our relationship with the Lord, He will let us know and it is up to us to respond.  What’s great is that we do not have to strain and strive to take care of the issue on our own, as if we were struggling by ourselves on an uncharted island.  God not only points out what needs improving, but will also walk with us, patiently, as we venture through the process.

Morality and Them

Here is the part where we impose our sense of right and wrong upon others.  When I say, “others”, I mean those who do not follow Christ.  I cannot express how serious this issue is, and how reprehensible an action it is to impose “morality” upon others.  It is not our job to police and legislate the lives and actions of others.  Why do we demand moral behavior of people who do not follow the Lord?

Hold on a minute, John.  It is the moral decay in a society which brings it down.  Look at the nuclear family?  How about the crime in our cities and towns?  We have people just living how they please, spreading their immorality all over the place.  Someone needs to tell these people the right way to live.

You just gave an example of one of my points in answer to the question I just posed.  One answer, is that we want people to behave in a way that makes us feel comfortable.

We live according to personal conviction, which comes by way of what we read in scripture as well as what the Lord lays upon our hearts.  At the same time, we live in a world that does not share our convictions.  For some reason, we feel it is necessary to tell them to live like we do.  We demand the unwed not to live together, Hollywood not to make ‘R’ rated movies and homosexuals to go straight.  Well, guess what…we need to stop.  If our only goal is to attempt the arrangement of some utopian society, we need to simply stop.

This also goes for our fellow Christians.  We need to be mindful that we all grow at different rates and each have our own convictions.  We need to be patient with one another as God is patient with each of us.  Yes, it is good to encourage one another toward a better way of living, a way that is complimentary to the design of God that we are.  But, we cannot demand that people change just because we say so, or the demand of, “As it is written…”.  We need to allow people to hear from the Lord, gain their own conviction and willfully change on their own.

Another reason we would demand certain behavior out of people is some weak theory that if we teach people how to live that they will see that behaving in a godly manner is a great way to live and then they might decide to follow the Lord.

Gag.

Leading people to the Lord by way of behavior modification…really?  I will not dignify that.

The third reason, as I see it, is that we exalt the sin in others in order to diminish the shortcomings of ourselves.  It is that thought in the back of the mind, “I am not perfect, but I am not as bad as that.”  It can even go so far as the Shakespearean quote, “I think thou dost protest too much.”

We need to remember that God does not look at us as this one being better or worse than another.  His love for each of us is equally boundless.  His estimation of each of us is not graded on a curve nor based on individual statistics derived from ‘good’ behavior vs. ‘bad’ behavior.  If God can look at us with such grace and love, we need to back off of those whose behavior or lifestyle does not live up to our standard.

 Ah, The Standard

What is God’s standard?  Grace.  Where can we see this standard?  We can read the Gospels and see the Example, Jesus.

Jesus lived a moral life.  Yes, His personal life was, well, perfect.  But, His higher morality showed in the way He treated people.  He came to serve, He loved and even protected.  He treated people with dignity, respect and showed no partiality or favoritism.  He never told anyone that their shortcomings or sin was so great that they were not welcome in His presence.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Morals are important.  But, we need to live according to our own personal convictions as revealed by God’s Spirit.  If we live according to Law, we are putting too much stress on ourselves, making God out to be a taskmaster and even putting ourselves in the place of judge, as we examine all that we do to see if it measures up to what we think will please God.  In the same manner, we do all this with other people, as well.

Let’s forget morality and concentrate on living as God designed us to live.  Let’s listen to His Spirit and live by the convictions He places upon our hearts.  We should begin to treat others as Jesus does, without judging them by a standard that He does not measure anyone by.

Closing Thoughts

People were attracted to Jesus and followed Him in droves. He was invited to “sinners” homes. He made everyone feel comfortable around Him. So knowing that, why would anyone be attracted to you?  If we insist on pounding ourselves and others with a moral list of acceptable do’s and don’ts, we alienate more than we attract.

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9 thoughts on “Forget Morality!

  1. jenson says:

    Looking for ahead to reading extra from you in a while!? Im usually to blogging and i really respect your content.

  2. 2btrue says:

    Thank you, Jenson. I appreciate that you respect what was written. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  3. randijo says:

    Thank you!! 🙂

  4. randijo says:

    P.S. I agree wholeheartedly and God has brought me to these same revelations. My role as a mom really has helped this more than anything…understanding it’s always more about the heart than it is outside behavior. Even I, so imperfect – can be patient with behavior because I care for right motives & a heart full of love…. how much more God is so patient with us and cares so much more about the outside!!! I can’t believe how much He has to remind me this though. I SOOO quickly revert back to morals, morality, judging how I’m doing….. trying to tighten things up….. try to clean up the outside real quick. It’s so hard to truly live free! So much work to truly just surrender & stop trying to work 🙂

    • 2btrue says:

      Most Moms and many Dads can gain an understanding of this. Kids learn and grow and stumble as they go. Yet, as parents, we love them without any condition as to “how” they are doing. While I do support and ecourage morality, per se, I think it becomes the thing on the platform and some use it as a barometer for spiritual maturity. We need to continue to develop our relationship with the Lord and allow Him to walk us through the changes we need to make.

      • randijo says:

        Agreed. I don’t think it’s being for or against morality…. I think it’s about the focus. Are we a whitewashed tomb… all scrubbed up on the outside, but nothing inside caused the change… OR instead, did we focus on the love relationship with the Lord, which transformed us – and YES did clean us up and bring us such new purity & trueness & morality & holy living in so many forms. So it may *LOOK* the same on the outside, but what did it take to get there….what’s the motive…. what motivation was used. Guilt, appearances, caring what others think, perfection…. or humility, love as motivator, desire for what He says is best….

        The process to live holy is so different when it’s done with godly motives & God’s timing. When we are focused on the heart, we don’t focus on behavior cleaning that behavior up. We have behavior we desire…. but we know the way to get there is a long process… working from the inside. Parenting helps us understand this because we SEE the process. Not just the outside!!

      • 2btrue says:

        Grace motivates us toward holiness, rather than attempting holiness to gain grace. Uh, people…grace is free.

  5. randijo says:

    YES! Thanks for this truth filled & encouraging conversation 🙂

  6. randijo says:

    reviewing this…. thanks again…. think I agree with it all except……. i don’t think Jesus made everybody feel comfortable around Him 🙂

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