I have been trying to put these thoughts into words for weeks now. This has been written, deleted, written again, deleted again… My problem is, every time I try to write this, it sounds very judgy. And, that is NOT what I am trying to do. So, I am going to write this again. Wish me luck…
When I say absolute or relative, I mean that about a lot of things. It is how we look at the world. Are the absolute rights and wrongs, or is everything relative…or, does it depend?
Here is why I ask, for God, I don’t see a lot of relative rights and wrongs. Take a look at the 10 Commandments (adapted from Exodus 20):
I am the Lord, thy God:
- Thou shall have NO other Gods before me
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any grave image
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
- Remember the Sabbath day; Keep it Holy
- Honor thy mother and thy father
- Thou shalt not kill
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
- Thou shalt not steal
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
- Thou shalt not covet
When I read those, I only see absolutes…no maybes. With that in mind, how do I live my life? Do I live by a code of absolutes, or does it depend? And, why do I care?
As a young adult, before kids and before truly becoming a Christian, I didn’t live my life by absolutes. Many rules were “meant to be broken.” And, if I got caught, I was frustrated with the person who caught me, not at myself for CHOOSING to do something wrong. It was always someone else’s fault. I had very little accountability for my actions.
As I started to grow in my faith, and finally listed to the Holy Spirit, I began to see the challenges with that behavior. Especially now as a mom…
If I don’t teach my kids right from wrong, how will they know what is right and what is wrong?
If I don’t act appropriately, how can I expect them to act appropriately?
If I CHOOSE to do wrong and get caught AND I don’t accept responsibility, how can I ever expect them to?
We live in a world of relativity. I’m not as bad as _______. We are better than _______. At least we don’t ________.
Then, I go back to the 10 Commandments. It’s not do better than others. It reads – Thou shalt not. Not less than others, not don’t get caught. Just don’t do it.
So, then I look at my life. How do I act? What do I do? Do I take accountability, or is it someone else’s fault? Do I follow the rules, or are some “meant to be broken”?
Well, it depends…
If I want to take accountability and take action, I need to first see things as they really are. And, there are still things in my life that, well, depend.
So, here is my commitment:
- I will follow the rules, so I can teach my kids to follow the rules
- When I give my children the rules, I will try to tell them the “why” so that they can better understand why the can or cannot do things.
- When I choose to break the rules (like driving 5 miles over the speed limit), I will own that choice
- When I get caught, (because let’s face it, we always get caught) I will own that choice. I will not try to get out of it or blame the police officer or talk about the person who passed me going 20 miles faster than I was. I will accept the ticket and thank the officer for keeping the roads safe.
- When I roll up the window and drive away, I will use that as a teachable moment to help my kids understand that regardless of whether I got caught, I was the one doing wrong. It was that police officer’s job to pull me over and give me a ticket. That was my punishment for doing wrong.
And, all this sounds good on paper (or in cyberspace), but what happens when it comes to real life? We are faced with situations each and every day that test our values and our commitments.
It’s tough because we consistently are told that we live by rules, and subject our kids to rules that are not possible in today’s world. Yet, when I read the Bible – God asks us to …
Romans 12:2 (NIV): “not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
So, we all have choices to make. We can make things easy, and do what the world wants us to do. It seems to be easier and more fun. Or, we can do what God asks us to do. Walk through the narrow gate. Take the road less traveled. Know that it a tougher road.
I remember reading a Facebook post from a friend one day that said…
I would rather live my life believing there is a God and find out I was wrong, than live my life believing there isn’t a God and find out I was wrong.