Archive for August, 2015

Let me rephrase the question: would you do something if there were no direct punishment for you? (You can extend this to any illegal/immoral activity, whether it’s stealing, harming, raping, etc.).

What deters many people is the resulting punishment/consequences if one of those acts is done by one person against another. Many times, this is how some churches present their understanding of the Christian life i.e. God will punish you if you do that. So, for many, living a moral life is really about punishment-avoidance.

What this question suggests is whether you are changed fundamentally, especially from a Christian faith perspective? Because if you would do it because you can get away with it, what does that speak to who we really are?

John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” To shift the angle: do I try to stay away from doing bad things (you define what those are) primarily because I’m afraid I’ll get caught or because I believe those acts are fundamentally wrong in and of themselves? After all, in the hypothetical scenario that I wouldn’t be punished for that act, there are still consequences because it impacts the other person negatively. Sometimes, I ask myself that question:

  • Would I steal (embezzle, etc.) just to get what I want?
  • Would I get back at another person through some sort of violence (physical, material, psychological, social) if I felt wronged or because I had contempt?
  • Would I treat women essentially as objects for my own pleasure?

It challenges me to address a deeper issue within me i.e. is God shaping that fundamental desire to seek the betterment of the person around me vs exploiting them for my own selfish desires, which in turn shapes my behaviour? This is beyond punishment-avoidance behaviour modification. This is what the Holy Spirit wants to pursue in my life and everyone else’s.

At times, facing that question forces me to consider where am I at really with God. (To be honest, there are dark spots in my soul I don’t want to acknowledge sometimes.) Yet, it’s God’s desire that the very depths of my soul be transformed so that I might be like Christ. God help me in that process.

Sometimes, I wonder why people get into politics. There are some who are faithful public servants, wanting to better the society they live in. Other I suspect have more self-serving motives (and, unfortunately, the means to do it).

Recently, the National Post published an article, “National Post View: Real action needed against ISIL, not sloganeering“. The issue with ISIL is complex with many underlying factors. I can’t comprehend the entire scope of what’s happening in ISIL and, given how media tends to skew issues, there’s probably so much more happening beyond what the public is aware of. But the article does beg the question if/how our leaders are tackling this issue (amongst many others).

While our main federal leaders are out campaigning, I have a slim hope that there are people from all sides of the government, working together across political lines to actually resolve so many issues. (That’s my hope; my skepticism suggests otherwise.) I realize that leaders from different points on the political and ideological spectrum have different ways of addressing issues. However, at some point, shouldn’t we be working together, acknowledging that we all have something worthwhile to bring to the table? Shouldn’t there be some sense of “here’s where we at least agree” and progress from there? At least from my vantage point, all our main political leaders (both in Canada and the US) seem bent on ensuring that their ideas are the ONLY right ideas (and that everyone else’s ideas are wrong). To acknowledge otherwise is to be perceived as weak and ineffective.

Perhaps this is why there’s such cynicism towards are government leaders especially with our upcoming Canadian federal election (and the US presidential election next year). This constant in-fighting amongst our own leaders doesn’t bring hope. (Maybe some don’t really care about hope, just their own perceived success.)

I pray that our leaders, whether with this issue or several other significant ones, would strive to find the BEST answer, not just the one that makes them look good.

PS: This isn’t just about what our government needs to do. (The government doesn’t have all the answers.) We ALL have a role to play in addressing the expanding atrocities against so many people who are killed, raped and enslaved.

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