Yesterday, we mentioned getting credit for doing good as a motivation for some people to do the right thing. Another twist on that is refraining from doing something bad only if you think you’ll get caught. If you don’t think anyone will find out, then why restrain from doing something wrong or immoral? If you won’t get caught, why worry?
In the imagery of baptism, the person goes under the water, dying to the old self, and comes out of the water being born as a new self. A Christian is a new creation. Embracing the Christian life has to do with our whole being. It is not just like passing the bar exam which qualifies you to practice law. Or getting a license so that you can drive a car. These commitments involve specific activities but not necessarily the entire self. The Christian life is about who we are, all the time, in every circumstance, in every thought, in every action, from the core of our being. There is no being Christian in this situation but not in that situation. There is no living the Christian life five days a week and taking the weekend off.
The Christian path determines the very core of who we are: heart, soul, body, and mind. Our journey of faith involves letting this commitment, this lifestyle, infuse us in greater and greater measure. It is a journey of becoming pure of heart; devoted first and foremost to the kind of loving of self, others, and God, that we see in Jesus.
Do we get lost on the way? Yes! Are there detours? Of course. Do we sometimes veer off the road entirely. Sure. Do we backtrack? Sometimes. But somehow, we find ourselves still seeking our home in God. We find our highest good in serving love. When we do something bad or wrong or immoral and think it doesn’t matter because we will never be caught, it does matter because we are harming ourselves. We are pulling ourselves away from our well-being and wholeness and health. And so we come back to the late basketball coach, Dean Smith’s words: “You should never be proud of doing the right thing. You should just do the right thing.” No matter who is or isn’t looking.
Lectionary readings for today:
Prayer: May we be honest especially with ourselves. Amen.