Being Right

After reading about the events that occurred during the Boston Marathon bomb explosion in April, I was horrified like so many others. However, something I found very intriguing were the allegations that the bombing had been threatened ahead of time. The fact that people witnessed bomb sniffing dogs searching the grounds for explosives offers evidence that a bomb threat may have actually been called in. While the facts may remain a mystery, I could not help but reflect on the moral conundrum that the race officials would have been in, if in fact a bomb threat was received. In such an event a choice must be made to respond. Choosing to publicize the bomb threat may result in public panic, putting spectators in danger, potential humiliation if the threat was a fake, and a failed race event if cancelation was required. Choosing to keep the threat a secret, places the lives of spectators in danger, adds pressure to find the threatened explosives, and incriminates the race officials if the effort to find the explosives fails. One could make an argument that either choice is right, depending on the circumstances.

We may be fortunate enough not to be in the position to have to make life and death decisions right now, but we still have to make moral choices every day. When faced with a decision to make, especially when it involves a moral judgment, the clarity can blur between what is right and what is not. Fortunately, we have the Bible as our guide and rule book to help us judge righteously. Yet even then, the right decisions are not always obvious. In fact, we have proof that our moral judgment sometimes fails. As Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 7:20, “For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.” If our judgment and our actions based on such judgment were always righteous, we would not sin. While this is true, we cannot go through life refraining from making decisions just because it is difficult and we may fail. Moral paralysis is not an option for a Christian.

What we have to remember is the faith of Jesus Christ must guide our choices if we want to work towards becoming righteous. Any righteous decision that we may attempt on our own is doomed to failure without relying on God’s guidance. The carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7), and therefore cannot be relied upon to guide us down the path of moral righteousness. Paul understood this with clarity, teaching in Philippians 3:8-9, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith…” The righteousness that we work to attain originates with God.

It is reassuring to know that we have the resources at our disposal to be right according to the standards of God. The difficult challenge that we must take to heart is to remove from the equation our own human and carnal assessment of what is right. Only God can inspire us to act righteously, through the faith of Jesus Christ working within us.

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