5th November 2020

If in Doubt, Choose the Love of Jesus

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
Romans 13:8 (NIV) 

In a world increasingly aware of carbon emissions and climate change, I have sometimes wondered whether it is selfish for me to drive a petrol or diesel car? Or on the other hand, would I be selfish not to, as my family would suffer tremendously without it? If I could afford it, I could switch to an electric car, but in the meantime perhaps it’s ok as long as I limit my car use to essential trips only. Reflecting a little further, I realised there are many other ethical questions in today’s world where it is not always easy as a Christian to know how to act. Here are some examples:

  • If a vaccine for Coronavirus becomes available, would I be selfish for being vaccinated if that means someone more vulnerable misses out; or selfish to refuse as that means I may catch Covid-19 and pass it on to others or place extra demand on the NHS?
  • Is it ok to buy the cheapest available version of a product if that means those making it are living in squalid conditions below the poverty line? Or should I spend a little more on Fairtrade products, even though that means I can afford fewer products overall?
  • Is it ok occasionally to take my family on a nice holiday if I can afford it, or should I donate the money to charity to help alleviate suffering for the millions who are not able to do so?
  • Is it ok to shop online because it’s cheaper and more convenient, even if that means shops on the High Street close and are no longer available for others, and jobs are lost?
  • Should I protect my child by preventing them from associating with a convicted criminal, or allow my child to meet and learn from them because everyone deserves a second chance?

These are difficult questions which the Bible doesn’t address directly. Neither the laws given to the physical nation of Israel in the Old Testament, nor the instructions given to the early church in the New Testament, specifically cover the context of today’s ethical dilemmas. The answers require wisdom and sometimes depend on the situation and the perspective of the people involved.

So, what should we do? The fundamental principles behind all the commands in the Bible are ultimately about expressing the love of God. And it is by faith in Jesus that through the Holy Spirit God reveals to us what it means to live ‘in love’ in every situation. “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love,” says Galatians 5:6. If in doubt we should pray and consider how Jesus, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” (Colossians 2:3), might show love in our circumstances. And we should look to him to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, which is “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer
Lord, please lead us by your Spirit to live in the love of Jesus in every situation, even when it is not easy to understand how to do so. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Simon Williams

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About the Author:
Simon Williams is active in the Cambridge Congregation of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Cambridgeshire
Farcet Village Hall
Main Street
Farcet
Peterborough
PE7 3AN

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2pm

Except on the first Saturday of each month 2:00 pm at Comberton, Cambridge

Comberton Village Hall
Green End
Comberton
CAMBRIDGE
CB23 7DY

Local Congregational Contact:
Richard Dempsey

Email:  richard.dempsey@btinternet.com

Telephone: 01858 437099

Local church website: www.cambridgeshirechurch.org

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