If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
The Prime Minister of Great Britain resigned. Was it because he was ill? Was it because the voters didn’t agree with his politics? No, he resigned because he was caught in an ethical scandal. He lied to the people on multiple occasions, and he surrounded himself with people who engaged in morally inappropriate conduct. His lies worked for years until they didn’t.
Johnson’s government has been plagued by a series of scandals, from accusations of his disregard for rules and revelations of illegal lockdown-breaking parties held on Downing Street, to allegations of impropriety and abuse by Conservative lawmakers.
Certain issues that might be considered private for a private individual can become matters of reasonable public interest when that individual is elected to office. Becoming a public servant means putting the public’s interest ahead of your own.
I was elected to public office for more than twenty years and I always considered my conduct in private, a public matter 24-7. Remember Bill Clinton. He said no, but the right answer is yes.
For nearly ten years of my public service, I have served on the Florida Commission on Ethics and am the current chairman. The commission has jurisdiction over some 87,000 state employees, 1,623 local governments, 410 municipalities and 67 counties and all elected officials at all levels of government. As we hear cases, I am constantly shocked at what a few people think is ethical conduct. The commission routinely hands out everything from public reprimands to oustings from office and employment for those who hold public positions.
Ethics are a set of standards that a society places on itself and which helps guide behavior, choices and actions. No society can survive without an ethical code of conduct of what is acceptable and what is not. It is even more important where laws do not reach. Ethics are for Christians Biblically-based and plain moral common sense. Things like honesty, loyalty, integrity, respect, selflessness and responsibility.
What does the Bible say about making ethical decisions? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
The first thing any Christian should do when faced with a decision is ask God’s advice. The Bible reminds us not to lean on our imperfect human understanding, because that’s often how regretful mistakes are made.
Have you examined your personal ethics lately?
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
Do You Belong to Yourself or Belong to God?
Forbes reports a new poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute that a stunning 88% of Americans now believe the U.S. is on the wrong track and just 10% believe it is on the right track.
Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said “most Americans are blaming Washington for their current pain, but I would suggest that America is on the wrong track because the world in general is on the wrong track. Many people are on the wrong track because their worldview is on the wrong track.”
We blame our problems on other people, politicians, societal injustices, or natural limitations. Yet, our real problems are much deeper. They go beyond current circumstances, political policies, cultural inequality, economic inequity, or arbitrary restraints. Our actual challenges both individually and collectively are spiritual and moral.
Among the apostle Paul’s predictions of the perilous “last days,” is that people would be “lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:4-5).
We are an individualistic, self-seeking, pleasure-driven society. Many seek self-fulfillment, demand their rights and pursue whatever pleases them at the moment.
Christ-followers must reject that philosophy in light of Jesus’ call to those who would be his disciples. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Lk. 9:23-24).
To express it another way, “Do you belong to God, or belong to yourself?” “You are not your own” flies in the face of the humanistic worldview. It sounds ridiculous. Absurd. And, yes, even demeaning. Yet, it is our challenge and our daily struggle. Will we belong to God? Or will we belong to ourselves?
Belonging to God produces the fruit of righteousness. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. And self-control.
To whom will you belong? Self? Or God? Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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An Airbus 380 is on its way across the Atlantic. It flies consistently at 800 km/h at 30,000 feet, when suddenly a Eurofighter with a Tempo Mach 2 appears. The pilot of the fighter jet slows down, flies alongside the Airbus and greets the pilot of the passenger plane by radio: “Airbus, boring flight, isn’t it? Now have a look here!”
He rolls his jet on its back, accelerates, breaks through the sound barrier, rises rapidly to a dizzying height, and then swoops down almost to sea level in a breathtaking dive. He loops back next to the Airbus and asks, “Well, how was that?”
The Airbus pilot answers: “Very impressive, but watch this!” The jet pilot watches the Airbus, but nothing happens. It continues to fly straight at the same speed. After 15 minutes, the Airbus pilot radios, “Well, how was that?”
Confused, the jet pilot asks, “What did you do?” The Airbus pilot laughs and says, “I got up, stretched my legs, walked to the back of the aircraft to use the washroom, then got a cup of coffee and a chocolate fudge pastry.”
The moral of the story is: When you’re young, speed and adrenaline seems to be great. But as you get older and wiser, you learn that comfort and peace are more important. This is called S.O.S.: Slower, Older and Smarter.
Dedicated to all my friends who, like me, as seniors, we now realize that it’s time to slow down and enjoy the rest of the trip.
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream. Harry Kemp
When we understand our Father’s great love for us, our hearts are quieted and we rest in that truth. Dan Shock
No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what the Christians are called to push against the riptide of the cultural current we are facing today. Ken Whitten
This is always the heart of temptation: to let the flesh rule over the spirit. Dan Shock
More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them. Harold J. Smith
Gratitude is paramount to the Christian life. Kelly Knouse
It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. Asop
A true man hates no one. Napoleon Bonaparte
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. Aldous Huxley
How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! Thomas Jefferson
It is easier to live for God than to live for yourself. Dan Shock