Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Right & Wrong & Why
Here's a story that is really, really sad:
- 11alive.com - The widow of a murdered church deacon and an associate pastor are on suicide watch in the Floyd jail, where they are being held on conspiracy and murder charges. [linked by Bryan @ SpareChange]
I pray for a swift and just resolution to the story above, and for redemption and restoration and forgiveness to be the first things on the minds of the community of believers there.
Forgive me. I'm about to make a broad, sweeping generalization based on one story that I only just read a few moments ago. The participants here are innocent until proven guilty. I don't know them or the particulars, and I hurt for that church, that youth group, that senior pastor who will have to at least attempt to make sense of what has been unleashed on them unsuspectedly. But no one is truly "good", and the state of the church in America is probably at fault, too.
We know that we are called to "train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6). But we're mistaken if we think that means teaching right from wrong without explaining WHY. We have done a poor job of giving people the tools to choose between right and wrong, starting in the homes, from the classrooms and in the pews in front of the preachers' pulpits. It's easy to just say one thing is right and another way is wrong, but it takes time to explain beyond "because I told you so".
The "way you should go" has as much to do with choice and direction as it does with black and white good versus evil. There's a good deal of grey area out there, and the real choices are usually between good, better and best - not just right and wrong. People are not challenged to reach for the best, and we settle for good, or worse yet, for "good enough". But at least it's not wrong... right? The problem is that choosing less than the best, rationalizing things away and making excuses - that's always going to be wrong, and no one knows it.