Doing The Right Thing

Why do we do that which is right? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve noticed something a lot more recently that shows that we’ve become a society that looks to consequences to see if a decision is right. For instance, I’m a gameshow junkie. When my wife is done watching something and says “Turn on what you want” I inevitably go to the Game Show Network. Now let’s suppose we’re watching a game of chance on there, such as Catch 21, which is built around an idea of Black Jack. I don’t need to go into the details, but in the final round, the winner can choose to wager what he has that he will get 21 on up to three different hands of cards. If he ever busts, he loses everything. When he decides to walk away, the host will still say “Well let’s see what would have happened?” I don’t blame them for that. We all want to see that, but if a bust comes, it is told “You made the right decision.”

Maybe, but is that why?

Yesterday I commented on a post by Sheila Wray Gregoire on her blog, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum which my wife introduced me to. In it, I put up a link from the Family Feud which happens to be a favorite one. You can watch it here:

Now if you’re somewhere where you can’t watch that right now, the host Steve Harvey is asking the question about what 100 married men said in response to this. “I would blank for sex.” This is one that usually gets me cheering and the men for the most part, get it right every time. The women give answers like “cook” and “clean.” When Sheila posted it on Facebook you had women saying “Well if he cooked and cleaned, I’d be more likely to have sex.”

Is this doing the right thing?

What do these both have in common? They all appeal to consequences. They don’t look at the action itself. They just look at the result.

Let’s suppose in the above example, the guy could have had the cards drawn and walked away with the grand prize and won all the money. Does that mean he made the right decision if he kept going? Not necessarily. After all, it could have been the odds were stacked majorly majorly against him. He made a decision that happened to have a good result, but it was a random fluke. In fact, it could be he made the right decision by stopping because that was a wise decision. He could have won about $5,000 already and it would have been foolish to put the rest on the line because of a slim chance.

Or how about what I described above from the women? Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying a husband should not help around the house if he can by cooking and cleaning. (Of course, if the former requires visits from the health and/or fire department, that could be an exception.) Still, let’s suppose he doesn’t do that. Does that mean the wife can say “Well I’m not going to do what I should do for you because you’re not doing for me what you should do for me?” The sad thing is many a husband could say in response “Well why should I cook and clean for you if you’re not willing to have sex with me?”

In fact, both the husband and wife are being selfish in this case. It’s saying “I will do what I should do for you if you will do what I want first.” It’s also got sex being used as a weapon, which should never happen in marriage. Instead, only one question needs to be asked. “What is the right thing to do?” If you know the right thing to do, do it. James in the Bible holds no punches. If you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it, you sin.

When we do this, we could say “I’d do the right thing, but what if XYZ?” What if indeed? So what either way. Are you saying “If it will not work out for me, then I will do the wrong thing? If so, then you are not really interested in doing the right thing but in doing that which you want to do.

And let’s be blunt, we all struggle with this. We all look out for ourselves. Lately, my wife has been wanting me to trust her more in the swimming pool. I am hydrophobic and I really get what I think is a localized PTSD when I get in the water. All the rationality goes out the window. I know the right thing to do is trust her, but then I think “What if I fall?” “What if an accident happens?” What if. What if. What if. Now to be sure, these are possibilities, but on one level, they’re also stupid. Am I to think that if something happened to me in the water and I went under that Allie would just stand there and say “Well it was a good marriage while it lasted. Time to go home and get on Christian Mingle.” No. Even if she didn’t do anything, there are several other people around who could and would do something.

Now of course, that doesn’t mean a fear gets bulldozed over. As it stands, I’m taking little steps right now to face my fear, such as when I get a shower I’m spending some time just soaking my face not for the purposes of cleaning, but for the purposes of getting used to it. A generous friend has also ordered me a face mask of sorts to help with my fear.

If there is a legitimate struggle and fear blocking you doing the right thing, I advise just keeping in your mind to do the right thing and make that your goal. If you want to do that which is right, pray and ask God to help. If instead it’s more a case of “You do X for me and maybe I’ll do Y for you” then you simply need to repent. That’s not the attitude to have. That’s only doing the right thing if it works out for you, which is ultimately selfish.

Consequences are a part of our actions and sometimes doing the right thing will not work out well, but it is still the right thing to do. If you want to know what excuse there is for not doing the right thing, bluntly, there isn’t. There can be reasons for not doing the right thing, but reasons are not justifications. When we stand before God, there will be no excuse for any time we’ve done the wrong thing. Of course, there are sins of ignorance and such, but the question is not over where we generally are unsure about the right thing to do, but when we know the right thing and come up with an excuse to do not do it.

Today, I recommend you start examining your life. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? What are you looking out for the most?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Doing The Right Thing

What do you do when you don’t want to do what you should do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Biblically, we all know no one lives life on the mountain always. There will be times of trouble and sorrow. Bluntly, my mood isn’t the best right now. I woke up this morning not really wanting to do anything and there are times then the apologetics ministry becomes a burden. You see, I normally love doing what I do, but there can be times you wish you could go without having to interact with the rest of the world. There are times you wish that the skeptics weren’t there that you had to answer. There are times you wish that you could push the pause button and put everything else on hold. Yet I get up this morning and not too long after waking up, what do I find myself doing? Apologetics.

Note, this can happen even when you’re not really happy with what God is doing in your life. I think too often we go and put on our best church faces because Christians are always to be people of happiness who don’t have problems. Don’t know what Bible you’re reading, but the one I read seems to say a lot to people who have a lot of problems. We live in a world where everyone puts on a face which means we really don’t discuss the problems we have going on. It’s a wonder so many of us can look to study the problem of evil and how to deal with it and try to live our lives as if evil isn’t a reality.

But evil is a reality and we all know of times when it looks like the universe is not working the way we think it should. It is often thought that when God seems silent, the real pain is wondering if He’s even there. I disagree with this entirely. For those of us who know He is there, the real pain is that we know He’s there and He doesn’t seem to be doing anything. The pain is that we know that this is in fact what is good for us at the time and we best learn to grow from it somehow. There are times that quite frankly, the goodness of God is something that is awful.

So here you are and you are one who says He is a servant of Christ and you know your duty and yet there is nothing inside of you that is prompting you to do it really. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. What do you do in this case?

You do your duty.

Our culture has become so feeling-oriented that we look at our world through the lenses of our experience and feelings first. Unfortunately, the hard struggle for us is the Bible doesn’t make many allowances for us. There is nothing that says “Love your neighbor as yourself, unless your neighbor is being a jerk and then you have a pass.” “Pray for your enemies, unless they do this specific evil to you and then you can pray for fire and brimstone to fall on them instead.” “Love your wife or respect your husband, except for those times that they quite frankly are getting on your nerves and then you have an exception.” Imagine how far we can go with this. Rejoice in all things. Pray without ceasing. Study to show yourself approved. Do the work of an evangelist. This is the way, walk you in it.”

Yeah. Go through the book and see all the exception clauses you can find. There’s a story supposedly told that when a famous atheist was dying, a friend of him was surprised to come to see him on his deathbed and find him reading the Bible. When the friend asked the atheist what he was doing he got the reply of “Looking for loopholes.”

We laugh, but we all are looking for loopholes or living like they should be there. “Oh I know Biblically that I should save sex for marriage, but I really love her and we’re going to get married anyway.” “Oh I know Biblically that I should give to the poor, but there’s this item on sale that I really want this week.” “Oh I know Biblically that I am to be loving of my neighbor, but do you have any idea what the jerk did to me?” “Oh I know Biblically that I am to pray, but God is really silent so if He doesn’t care about me why should I care about Him?”

I think we’ve all made statements like this before.

And you know, this all gets harder in light of James 4:17.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

We have this strange idea that we should do what we feel like doing or don’t feel like doing and get away with zero consequences. We fail to realize that every action we do, big or small, is building up a character, and not just in us, but in everyone around us who we interact with. We do not stop to ask what kind of person we are becoming. We all tend to think we’re the exception to the rule and that reality will treat us differently.

It won’t.

Reality is what it is and we Christians are called to live in accordance with the truth. If we start making exceptions for us, don’t be surprised if the rest of the world starts to think there are exceptions for them too.

So what is it that we are supposed to do on those days when we don’t desire to do what we ought? What are we to do when our every feeling and desire in us is telling us to not do something?

We are to do the right thing.

This is the way of the cross. This is taking it up and following Him. This is dying to our self and knocking ourselves off the throne of God and realizing that we are to live in accordance with what our master teaches and if it doesn’t seem to make sense at the time, we are to still realize that He knows best. If we have to do it while inwardly we are kicking and screaming and gritting our teeth in frustration, well we do it anyway. If we often wait until we feel like serving Jesus or doing anything that He has told us to do, then it is quite likely that we will never do what we ought.

Do you not like that?

Well quite honestly, neither do I.

But reality is not about what I like. Reality is about what is. The truth is Jesus is my Lord and I am to follow Him regardless.

He knows best after all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters