Do we know what is right and what is wrong? Can something be “right” in my eyes and “wrong” in yours? Is right and wrong always “black and white?” Do we know what is good and what is evil? Are we always right? Do we always do the good? Of course not. We all fall short of perfection (is there a “perfect”?). We are not always as kind as we ought to be, which means we have some idea of what kindness ought to be. We are not always as loving as we ought to be, which means we have some idea of what loving ought to be. We do not demonstrate the life we know we ought to demonstrate, which means we have some idea of what life is meant to be. Our frailty in terms of living up to the “standards” (what ought to be) make it extremely hazardous for us who live in glass houses to throw stones. “You, sir, why do you pass judgment on your brother? And you, sir, why do you hold your brother in contempt?….Let us therefore cease judging one another, but rather make this simple judgment: that no obstacle or stumbling-block be placed in a brother’s way” (Romans 14:10ff).
Does Paul mean that we should forget about right and wrong? Does he imply that we should not hold our brother or sister to account? Does Paul mean to suggest that we ignore the standards (what ought to be) of decency, courage, and caring and never say a word in judgment or in protest? Of course not. We know that both we and our brothers and sisters do not demonstrate the life we know we ought to demonstrate. But we must never lose sight of the standard (what life ought to be). We must never cease to raise that standard up, and ever seek to live it out ourselves and encourage others to do the same. Similarly, the American Dream is not something we have demonstrated as a nation throughout our history, but it is the standard (what ought to be) by which we seek to live and if we lose the standard, we lose everything.
Do we hold different “standards” (you can use “values” if that suits you better) of what is right and what is wrong? Is that our present dilemma? Or have we lost the standards (values) that once seemed to bind us together as a society? Does “kindness” mean something different for you than it does for me? Does “loving” have a different meaning for you than it does for me? Have we lost the “what ought to be” and settled for whatever is at the moment?
|Is there a Lighthouse to rescue us from the restless|
waves? Is there a "Standard"--a "What Ought to Be" or
is it simply my way or your way?