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Self-Preservation

When I was in high school, mowing the yard was part of my weekly chores.  Since there was a creek in my backyard, I often dodged snakes, toads and other wildlife.  On one occasion, I got too close to my father’s garden, clipping the edge of a hornets nest.  Acting out in self-defense, I was stung several times despite running away in self-preservation.

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace, Ecclesiastes 3:8.

This same concept applies to politics.  In order to get elected, individuals try to be all things to all people.  Along the way, candidates have to raise money, pledging to remember donors if elected.  Nonetheless, eventually every person on the ballad box stumbles upon an issue symbolic of a hornet’s nest.  As soon as this topics is addressed, swarms of critics come out of no where, attacking to insure their self-preservation.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask, James 4:1-2.

When president Donald Trump was elected in 2016, one of his campaign promises was to drain the swamp known as Washington, DC.  While Trump’s brash style, competitive nature and strong feelings has resulted in several self-induced afflictions, he’s actually doing what he said he would.  Whether you agree with Trump’s politics or not, the harder he tries to drain the swamp, an increasing number of political hornets will come out of hiding to attack, attempting to hold on to spheres of influence and power.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, Ephesians 6:11.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis addresses self-preservation.  Within a chapter on the Law of Human Nature, Lewis highlights 3 objections to this law.  On example refers to soldiers fighting a war.  While murder is one of the ten commandments in the context of “thou shall not,” this atmosphere turns life upside down.  You must kill or be killed causes moral dilemmas for those who serve their country.  Subsequently, the desire to live will continue to urge individuals to act out in the spirit of self-preservation.  Like the hornets in my illustration above, may the Lord use self-preservation to help people see the big picture, a world doing whatever it takes to survive.

by Jay Mankus

Situational Ethics

When you stop for a moment and take a look at what’s really going on in the world around us, its head scratching.  Students killing or sleeping with teachers?  The glorification of abortion, giving woman who are pregnant the legal right to destroy human life?    Lying as a religious practice to deceive curious minds about to realize the truth?  Copy cat school shootings, seeking 15 minutes of fame?  Nudity on public television and in prime time?

The only logical explanation for these bizarre acts is a growing phenomena, known as situational ethics.  Instead of maintaining a set of moral absolutes, where there is a clear distinction between right and wrong, situations are now giving individuals other rational choices.  Thus, in the heat of the moment or deep within the context of your trial, good excuses for sin can be made.  Dictionary’s refer to situational ethics as a system that evaluates acts in the context of their circumstances rather than by a set of moral standards.

This concept is nothing new as Jesus indirectly mentions it during a famous sermon found in Matthew 5:21-26.  Referencing the 6th commandment, the Lord chooses the word murder, not kill.  Thus, in war, killing is acceptable since the situation dictates a kill or be killed mentality.  When war breaks out between nations, right and wrong is turned upside down.  How then can someone know what is right or what can individuals rely on for a moral compass?

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis devotes an entire chapter entitled Some Objections.  Lewis talks about the Law of Human Nature which states “human beings have a curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain manner guided by their conscience, but despite these inclinations to do the right thing, they do not follow this law, breaking it through deviating behavior.  Beside war, the herd instinct, self-preservation  and motherly love steers people to take drastic measures based upon the extant of the storm or situation.

Today, these factors have blinded innocent hearts, naive minds and desperate souls from looking beyond the here and now.  With tomorrow hard to reach for many, ethics don’t seem that important as surviving today is the goal.  In John 18:33-38, a governor called Pilate called for a private meeting with Jesus.  In his heart, Pilate knew Jesus was innocent.  In fact, his own wife had a dream telling her to warn her husband about Jesus.  Although the clear response was in view, the situation urged Pilate’s own sinful nature to do the wrong thing.

Life is like years of trial and error.  I’ve spent 44 years getting it wrong day after day.  Yeah, the easy thing to do is blame the situation or the hand you’ve been dealt by God.  However, the temple within you expects more, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.  May the God above your situation take you to a better place this Christmas season.  Reach out to the One who can so you the way, John 14:6.

by Jay Mankus

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