Doing what's right requires courage
Highlands TodayA friend's husband often says: "Why can't people just do what's right?" Why indeed? That subject has challenged religion, philosophy, individuals and even governments for centuries. Whatever "right" is, many won't comply until forced.
Published: June 26, 2009
Published: June 26, 2009
Take the biblical command on which numerous laws are based: "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13 NIV). All taking of human life, whether self-defense, accidents, assisted suicide, or abortion, requires definitions in light of that standard. People serving a false god create a culture of death; that culture now prevails in America. And that, not a pro-life position, killed Dr. George Tiller, the late-term abortionist.
Which of the Ten Commandments is strictly civil? Not the first three: No other gods before Whom? No idols to What? No cursing or empty talk in Whose Name? And define the Sabbath? No success thus far. Honoring father and mother? Many parents forfeit that right; even discussing it is quickly becoming as passé as defining marriage and consequently, adultery. Coveting? Who legislates "desire" to take someone else's possessions? We're down to murder, theft, and bearing false witness. With using the word "sin" almost viewed as a hate crime, even these three are increasingly rationalized.
Altruism blooms when profit margins are threatened, as illustrated by a recent, front-page headline: "Health Giants Offer $2 Trillion In Savings." A week later, Pfizer Inc. decided to give those jobless since Jan. 1 more than 70 widely prescribed drugs.
A spokesman said: "We're doing this because patients are in need." Right. Under Obama's stated goal of overhauling the healthcare system, people who resisted change now propose cost saving ideas. Without an enforcement mechanism, this sudden motivation to do what's right will remain an effort to secure a seat at the bargaining table.
Another current headline announced "Retailers Start To Think Small." Unsold merchandise is shrinking prices in this so-called, post-splurge era. However, not only the merchants but also the perceived needy consumers are still drunk on greed and "stuff." In early May the newest rage, Ikea, opened in Tampa. Thousands fought to get in, some camping overnight, dragging babies and pets through it all.
Tampa police rescued Mr. Snuggles, a puppy left in a 120-degree car while his owner scavenged, reminding us that more animals would suffer abuse if people were not forced to do what's right.
In the '80's the "discipling movement" became popular in the church world. Its leaders set up a hierarchy mimicking paradigms of big business. Followers relinquished lives and checkbooks, putting their brains on hold in an attempt to show loyalty and submission to authority. That greed and power play either crashed or led to a cult group.
In "Wake Up, Florida," Bud Chiles asked: "Where have the statesman gone, the ones who were willing to sacrifice their popularity to do the best for our state?" The answer to his question is the answer to "Why can't people just do what's right?" Jesus gave it: "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matthew 23:11). There is a shortage of servants.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.