8 March, 2016 40 days of change-Lent, 2016
Consistent – “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. Matthew 5:37
It is one thing to say we have ethical standards; it is another to live in accordance with those standards. One of the worst and most common accusations that are leveled against Christians is that we are hypocritical. The allegation is made when we display an inconsistency between what we espouse and what we do. We claim a moral principle that is reflective of Christ and yet too often we behave in a manner that does not reflect or may even blatantly contradict that principle. That lack of authenticity is offensive to the world, to God and should be offensive to us. The challenge is for us to live in such a way that we are not out of alignment. If you visit a chiropractor, they will often say some portion of your body is out of alignment. The first time you hear that it scares us. Usually the chiropractor will tell you not to worry, that it is common, and an easy fix. When it comes to being out of alignment on our moral principles, only the reference to its commonality is true. We ought to worry and it is not easy to fix.
Jesus’ lived his live in complete alignment with the Father’s principles, which varied from the popular view of morals or religious practices. For example, the good moral person of Jesus day was very particular about the people with whom he associated. Jesus was consistently particular, but instead of hobnobbing with the righteous and pious, he socialized with the sordid sinners of his day. He had a moral principle to which he aligned himself, that of coming for the weak and the loss. As well, the popular religious practice of his culture was to do nothing on the Sabbath, and yet Jesus did not hesitate to heal on the Sabbath or to encourage his disciples to reap some wheat to eat on the Sabbath. Jesus’ ethical principle was people mattered more so than a religious ritualistic definition of rest.
Where are there blindspots in your life where you do not practice ethical living? Is it in the home where you let your guard down; at work when no one notices; on the sporting pitch when you get carried away by competition? Those inconsistencies might be because you have not applied the ethical standards to that area of your life, or you have deliberately chosen to make an exemption. Whatever the excuse for the lack of authenticity, you need realignment. The alignment may have occurred over many years, so it will not be easily corrected. Don’t try to fix it all at once, and please don’t fix it by just lowering your ethical standard. It may help to start with small changes. Pray for God to convict you in one area of your life that is inconsistent with your ethics. It may be your language, your entertainment choice, the treatment of a spouse, your thought life or your work habits. Then make a change in your behaviour to better align what you do with what believe. Hold that standard daily till it becomes the norm, a norm of consistency.