April 27

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Living Ethically in the Light of the Bible

Introduction
Reading schedule

Mark 6:30-44; 1 Corinthians 15:12-28; Psalm 94; Judges 20-21

Political correctness declares that those who disagree with our ethical conclusions are perfectly good people who have different values. Sometimes that is the case. We might conclude that abortion and euthanasia are unethical, but rarely would we claim that someone who disagrees with us is evil or wicked. Evil and wickedness are terms reserved for terrorists, child molesters, and other perpetrators of heinous crimes. Someone ‘like us’ would not do anything we would call evil.

Psalm 94 describes the wicked in ways we might have expected. The wicked are those who “crush your people” and “slay the widow and alien; they murder the fatherless.” Psalm 10 adds that the mouth of the wicked “is full of curses and lies and threats.” “He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent.” Such are the wicked—doing things most of us would never dream of doing.

However, Psalm 94 also describes the wicked in ways that bring evil closer to home. The wicked “pour out arrogant words” and evildoers are “full of boasting”. Underlying their approach is a denial that God sees or pays attention to what is happening in the world (v. 7). There is no sense of accountability to the all-seeing Ruler of the Universe. Psalm 10 adds that in his thinking, the wicked has “no room for God.” “He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.’”

If we are honest, we have such thoughts and attitudes at times. We look to ourselves for direction in life, not to God’s ways. We put our needs above those of anyone else. When this gets to the point of acting against the righteous, or condemning the innocent (v. 21), we have sided with the wicked. We don’t slay the innocent or rob the poor, but the same principles are in effect when we use our power at work to get our way regardless of what is best for others. Sometimes our oppression is more distant, as when manufacturers exploit workers in other countries to product cheap products. We contribute to that exploitation when we purchase such products motivated only by finding the cheapest price.

Christian bioethics should be different from that of the world system. A world motivated by ‘survival of the fittest’ leads to the selection of ‘better’ embryos, to abortion of those who fail genetic tests, and to death for those whose lives are not worth living. The time will come when God’s judgment will reign. Meanwhile, we must take refuge in the Lord and act to protect those who are helpless and weak, not contribute to their affliction or exploitation.

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