I’m in the middle of a class now dealing with Ethical Decision Making. Through dealing with the course material and writing brilliant papers, a thought occurred to me – and whenever that happens, I think it’s important to write those thoughts down.
Jesus faced situations which would have presented moral difficulties for other people. He healed people on the Sabbath Day, which was a violation of his Jewish law. He picked grain in a field with his disciples because they were hungry (unfortunately, they got hungry on a Sabbath Day, which made picking grain against the law).
He also faced a woman whose adultery put her in a position to receive capital punishment, and the religious leaders were waiting for Jesus’ decision on the matter. Did he struggle with the dilemma – put her to death or don’t put her to death?
In all three of these examples, there is no indication that Jesus struggled with the moral dilemmas invovled. He recognized that while the laws of the Sabbath were applicable and important, the laws of compassion and mercy were more important. Making the choice to heal or not, or to pick grain or not, didn’t seem to be a struggle. The choices seemed obvious to him, and he even criticized the religious leaders for not understanding.
For the adulterous woman, he acknowledged that she was a sinner, and then rather than insisting on the penalty the law demanded (death), he chose to extend mercy instead.
What’s the common thread here?
Like I said, Jesus faced decisions which would have created moral dilemmas for us. But for him, there were no moral dilemmas involved. He didn’t struggle with the decisions. He just simply knew the best decision and made it; partly because of his own Divine nature, but also because of his relationship with his Father. That relationship was so tight and life-giving, it guided his wisdom and decision making processes.
My hope is that as I grow more Christlike in my personality, as my character becomes more like his, and as my passions and desires are consistent with his passions and desires – certain moral dilemmas will no longer be dilemmas. Hopefully my thinking will become clearer, as I learn to think his way. Putting mercy and compassion above religious obligation will become a way of life.
That’s the goal.