“The PR department does it all the time!”
“Suzie hit me first!”
I’m sure all of us have heard a coworker or a child… or even ourselves, justify behavior based on the actions of those around us. It’t’s a trait that is inherent to humans. Something about not wanting to be any better than we “have” to be. Whether it is part of your faith journey or not, the Bible contains powerful principles critical to life and living.
There’s a text in Ephesians that many of us men, secretly or maybe even publicly, love to quote. It goes like this:
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife. Ephesians 5 NIV
Yeah. Well… we sorta stop there and conveniently don’t get to the text further down the page that says-
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
And yes, that does mean that when you use the porcelain meditation throne, you put the seat UP at the right time and put it back DOWN at the right time! If you’re not a husband or wife, don’t feel left out. I’ll find a text for you, too. While slavery is not as prevalent in this country in this century, do you ever feel that the term “involuntary servitude” could apply to you and your job? Then listen up.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, Ephesians 6
Did you notice the hint about your performance even when your boss isn’t watching? That covers a lot of territory doesn’t it?
Not a husband, wife or slave? Here’s the last one. Maybe this will fit:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6
Now, before you get too far off base about abuses at work, modern roles in marriage, and so on, that’s not where I’m going with this. In fact, how you relate to roles you feel are not ideal, that’s what I want to dig into. Do you ever feel like not obeying your parents because they aren’t fair, they don’t treat you as an adult, they ask too much of you? Did you notice that the text didn’t say,”obey your parents when it seems reasonable and fair”? No. God’s reason in this text is simple…”for this is right”. That’s it. Simple. Direct. No qualifications or excuses.
If you feel at least one hackle starting to rise, comb it back down. Let’s think about this for a minute. Focusing on what’s fair, giving as good as you get, not doing anything that “they” haven’t already done to you, these are all justifications for joining in a never ending spiral of negativity that causes heartbreak in homes and joyless jobs.
Words and actions whose whole justification is “for this is right” often don’t seem fair. This philosophy was promoted by a leadership guru two thousand years ago. Jesus Christ. No matter that the concepts were spoken in different culture and time, this philosophy still works. I dare you to try “for this is right” today.