Tuesday, May 11, 2021. What should we do? Today we talk a lot about behaviour in all parts of our society. The pandemy of Covid imposes strict behavioural rules on all parts of society. Climate change will bring a lot of further discussions on what to do or what not to do. The rising gender philosophy leads to strict new rules on our language. The fight against rassism has led to strong new rules what cannot be said any more in any type of public framework - with very strong consequences for any person who would violate these language rules.
Ethics, Freedom, Rules …
There has always been a challenging balance between freedom and rules. What to do? As soon as you start to think about what is good to do, and what has negative impact, you start to name things. When you want to stay away from things with bad impact, you have to name these things and a rule is born.
When I look through the New Testament, I find many rules as well. It is very interesting to observe that the apostles and Jesus himself formulate many points which touch our behaviour. Jesus himself addresses the way we act in many parts of his ministry. Let us look, as an example, into the letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus:
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5, 1-4)
Ethics from Within …
The ethical foundation of the New Testament is God himself. God's character, the way he is, is the basis and origin of all rules and commands of the New Testament. God is love, it is said. God is pure. God is trustworthy. God is reliable. God is faithful.
The New Testament describes that when you come to faith in Jesus, the spirit of God is entering your life. It is coming into your mind, your heart, your body. With this spirit, the influence of the Lord comes. Yet, you keep your freedom - you even gain freedom, since now his power can enable you to make good choices. You still choose, and you can make your own decisions. Not all of them will be perfect, some will be wrong.
Our mind, our will, our decisions are part of our life. Here, we think about what actions will be good and what actions will have negative impact on us, on others, on the development of our environment. Rules play a role here, since they state impact and experiences of actions, what should be done and what should be avoided.
What are good things I could do now, today? What about you? (Roland Potthast)