Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thought for the Day: Giving the Wrong Reason for Doing the Right Thing

This is taken from my private Journal. When I post excerpts online, I'll change minor details to protect the privacy of individuals, and perhaps myself, but otherwise, it'll be raw, showing the same thought process I use when I think to myself.

I realized something, that happened on Thursday, that I didn't quite do right. A girl in my biology class asked if I would take her clicker to class on Friday for Physics. (for the uninitiated, clickers are remote devices assigned to each student that are used to answer multiple choice questions in a lecture hall setting; our responses are used to grade us for attendance and accuracy)

I made a dismissive comment about how chances are high I would sleep in, and it was probably best for her to ask someone else. That was the wrong answer. The right motivation—it’s cheating—but I gave the wrong justification. I didn't say that I wouldn't do it because it was cheating. I thought about this afterwards and realized this was a subtle way in which I don’t often glorify God the way I should. When people have tempted me with sin, I've made various excuses first, which usually serves to make them disinterested, and so I never get to say that it’s wrong because it violates God’s law, because I bore them so they don’t bother to press me on the issue. 

The problem is, even though I eventually would give the right answer, I give the wrong answer first. This would make no sense in any sort of examination. Why would you give the wrong answer as your first choice? Or the answer you think is least likely to be correct? Or the weakest reasoning rather than the strongest? I don’t know if this is something necessarily sinful, though on some level I suppose it must be. I’m ultimately acting in a way that’s no different than the way someone acts if they’re ashamed of the Gospel, and don’t want to be embarrassed by having to stand up for God… this has made me rethink my methods. At the risk of being awkward, I should seek to give the right answer at the beginning, in the future. At the very least, I should say “no, it’s wrong,” and if asked why, explain that it’s against God. No excuses about why it wouldn't work, without making mention of the fact that it’s wrong. 

This is a “small” example, but the principle applies in a broad manner to every thing. God should be foremost in my thinking, and not a ‘back-up’ reply when I’m cornered. He’s more important than that. He’s not merely the metaphorical cane that helps me walk, but the very ground on which I walk. Without standing on Him, I am in free fall. So I resolve, then, to not beat around the bush but to be bold the next time someone tempts me to sin, and say, at the very least, that no, that would be wrong. I want to be a good witness, after all, and this is a simple, everyday way that I can honor God.

And you can too. I hope this has been insightful. Much more material like this to come!

~ Rak Chazak

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