Seeing the best in life's challenges

Beyond Right and Wrong

on February 18, 2012

Moving beyond the need to determine what is right and what is wrong is a tough task on the road to spiritual maturity.  The Bible is very clear that we are not to judge, and what else is more clearly judging than determining  “right” vs. “wrong”?

In the days of Moses, the people needed rules to guide them.  The Ten Commandments were appropriate for their level of spiritual maturity.  A parallel is the rules we make for young children.  Until children are mature enough to make wise decisions, we need to have rules to guide them and to keep them safe.

Most of us recognize that we have outgrown many of the rules.  We no longer worry about whether we are eating meat, braiding our hair or covering our heads. How many of us keep the Sabbath?  Isn’t it interesting that we don’t give a second thought to the fact that we find some of the rules outdated and irrelevant, yet we cling to others, digging in our heals, sometimes to the point of fighting to the death?

Paul (!) had this to say:

The Believer’s Freedom:  I Corinthians 10:32-24 (NIV)

23 “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial.  “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive.  24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Wait…..EVERYTHING is permissible???  Whoa.  How many of us believe that one?

Jesus pushes us to take a higher level of responsibility for how we choose to treat others, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”   And the Bible is FULL of advice and examples of what it means to Love One Another.  The most spiritually mature individuals will be working on making choices based on love only.  The rules become irrelevant as we work toward a higher level of determining appropriate behavior.

Making choices based on Love is not always easy.  Situations in real life are complicated.  Lots of people might be affected by a decision you make.  Your actions might make some people happy and other people upset. And there’s the idea of “tough love.”  Sometimes, the decision based on Love just might break one of the rules.

(I’m adding this later… example from the Bible of exactly this point is found in Luke 13:10-17.)

It’s pretty much guaranteed that we won’t always make the best choices.  As with any new skill, it takes a lot of practice, making mistakes, self-evaluation, trying again, falling down, getting up…..that’s the process.  If you think of “Making Decisions Based on Love” as one of the Areas of Study in Learning about Life, it is not hard to imagine there will be many courses to be taken before you will get close to mastering the material.

There’s nothing “wrong” with sticking to following the rules.  It’s ok for each individual to be wherever they are in the spectrum of spiritual maturity, just as each individual child matures at his own rate, and gets to the point where he can take more responsibility for himself.

This subject area is TOUGH.  It can feel like a leap of faith or like jumping off a cliff, because letting go of the security of The Rules is scary.  It is scary for others, and they will let you know that.

Romans 14:13  Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

One response to “Beyond Right and Wrong

  1. […] aspects of ourselves and our society are balancing, how we can move away from judgment and the mentality of “right” and “wrong”, how each person has their own unique perspective on the world that “just is”, and how some of […]

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