Sunday, July 20, 2014

Doing Wrong With Good Intentions

I am not legalistic but I do believe that wrong is wrong and right is right. We may try to understand the wrong actions of a person by trying to understand their motivation but it does not diminish the wrong of their actions. There is a lady in the news here who ended up causing the death of two people when she stopped in the middle of a highway to assist a family of ducks. Perhaps we can acknowledge there was no criminal intent but her actions robbed a family of a father and daughter and impacted a number of family, friends, and co-workers. Her actions were wrong. There is also the problem of intentionally doing something wrong for a good purpose.

Many people love the stories of Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to give to the poor. When we strip it of its romantic notions we are left with a group of armed bandits who threatened people to steal what did not belong to them. Their noble purpose does not matter when it involves wrong action. This was the situation with Moses who wanted to do something about the suffering of his people.

When Moses went out walking that day and he saw the abuse being inflicted on his people. It provoked in him a desire to do something about it. His desire was good but his actions were wrong and could not be honoured by Yahweh. Let's not get romantic about it, it wasn't an accident, he intentionally killed a man:

Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:12)

I doubt you and I would find ourselves in a situation where we would kill someone as a means to reach an end, but we may do other things that are just as ugly to our Lord. We may feel justified in destroying someone's reputation because we don't agree with something they said or did. We may cut corners, smudge our tax return a bit so we have more money to do good. We may lie to protect a friend or child. Whatever the motivation, wrong is still wrong.

You and I say we follow Jesus, so this means we should be following his example. Scripture says he did all things well. A simple example: Should the instrument of all Creation have to pay Roman tax? I wouldn't think so, but Jesus did because it was the right thing to do: Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. So why should we think we don't have to pay our government tax? Another example: The enemy offered Jesus several short cuts to avoid the cost of the cross but Jesus dismissed each one of them by putting the Father first. Perhaps he could have justified his actions with his good intentions, but wrong is wrong. The cross was the path he had to take and in obedience it is what he did.

It can be a real pain doing things the right way sometimes, but doing it the wrong way is always ugly and unacceptable to Father. He has purpose for his methods. If Moses had been allowed to lead an armed rebellion, the Lord would not have been revealed to the world and Israel would have kept all the glory for herself. They may have gotten their freedom but at the cost of how many lives and to what end? Without being the servants, the people of Yahweh they would have been a nation like any other nation and the world would not have known her Creator. Now just imagine what would have resulted if there had been no cross, no empty grave, no Holy Spirit.

Don't do short cuts. Don't try to do good by doing wrong. Take the long hard road. Do what is right no matter the cost. Allow Yahweh to accomplish what he wants to accomplish by walking in righteousness. Doing it right matters to how you will feel about things, your conscience, and to Yahweh's glory. Don't fall victim to the temptation of the easy way, the short cut, the fast solution. Follow Jesus and walk according to the example he set for us. To God by the glory!

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