Saturday Sermon There's a right and a wrong way in almost everything
When 10-year-old Matthew laid a surprise bunt to second base with the bases loaded, he caught the entire infield of this undefeated team out of position, we scored three runs, and Matthew was standing on third.
On the next pitch, he scored and then did a humiliating jig in front of the other team's dugout.
I gave him a harsh reprimand, but he said, "They deserved it; they did it all year to all the other teams." I replied, "You're on my team, and my boys don't do that." Two wrongs never make a right.
Next to teaching them discipline and how to think for themselves, one of the most important things children need to learn is ethics.
Winning the right way is much more important than just winning a game or a championship.
Humiliation of others is something we don't need to learn. There's a right and a wrong way in almost everything we attempt in life.
In Acts 10:35, Peter says, "Anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him." Peter hooks two essential parts to a whole life. "Fear God" and do "what is right." Christians can't just lead a pious life but have to act on what they believe. Faith without works is dead and works without faith is inconsistent and unmotivating.
Ethics is the science of right behavior. What is the right thing to do concerning abortion, divorce, racism, politics, business, sexuality and any other general areas? We have to go on some authority, and Christians either go to the Bible or the church.
Many people today allow culture to shape their morals. They allow television, books or even government to shape their ethics and actions. Ethics should not be decided by the "Everyone's doing it crowd."
Sodom and Gomorra practiced this. All fallen cultures usually have moved from right to wrong. Situational ethics are effective sometimes, but they have limits. We can't just "play it as it lays."
For the person of faith, God is the ultimate reality, The person who Jesus revealed on Earth. Devotion to God comes first. Ethical decisions based on devotion follow. A Christian has to reject statements like, "It all depends on the individual" and "Follow your heart."
Ours has to be a response ethic that has its initiative in God. God has come to us, found us and revealed His divine nature to us. So, we have to respond.
And also, please don't use the statement, "Love the sinner and hate the sin." Man doesn't have the capacity to hate properly. Leave that to God.
Matthew got his city championship trophy the next night and went on to be a really good athlete in high school even though he had only average physical ability.
His self-discipline, ability to think quickly and act properly always made him a stand out in athletics and life. He's now coaching his own sons, and I assure you, they'll learn right from wrong.
God bless you.
Charles Placker is a licensed minister who writes for the Victoria Advocate.