Doing what is rightPosted: October 25, 2020
Sermon preached at Northcliffe Uniting Church 25 October 2020
The main text for this morning is 2 Thessalonians 3:13
And as for you, brethren, never tire of doing what is right.
And I want to focus on understanding what is the “right thing”.
I have looked through various English translations of this verse and each talks about “doing good” rather than “doing right”. I think that there is a difference.
Doing a good thing is settling in life, loving your family, taking care of your parents, live according to the rules of the family and society. You don’t hurt anyone if you perpetually do good things.
But doing the right thing has always been tough.
Good things are determined by your ethnicity, social status, family background, schooling and so on.
Right things are not influenced by the situation.
Someone once said that it is easier to define the right thing by the opposite – it is not the wrong thing.
Another said its like the sun and the moon – one shines directly and the other indirectly.
Its confusing, so I did what every preacher should do, I went back to the original Greek and I found that the word used is ….
Kalopoiountes – Kal –op-oy-untes acting honourably, doing what is right
The writer clearly meant us to do the “right” or “honourable” thing.
So how do we know when its the right thing …. Remember that our text tells us to “never tire of doing what it right”.
Martin Luther King –
Cowardice asks the question – Is it safe?
Expediency – Is it politic?
Vanity – Is it popular?
These first three are about doing the good thing, but
Conscience always asks, “Is it right?”
INTERVIEW – I always want to do the right thing. How do you know what is right? Depends on your history, background, motivations and so on. I disagreed … We always know what is the right thing to do.
Chief Rabbi of London – Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times
- We have undergone a kind of “Cultural Climate Change” – moved from “WE” to “I”
- Life has become what we can get out of it, not what can I put in
- We are less civil towards each other
- Being successful is better than being a good person
BUT – being moral – doing the right thing – is always our default mode
Consequence of the culture change is seen in:
- Disfunctional relationships
- Increased drug use – both legitimate & illegal
- Higher rates of suicide
Moved from a society which rested on covenant to one which relies on contract
- Covenant – A relationship of commitment relying on trust
- Contract – A transaction made for our own best interest
SO WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING!
Micah 6:8 – And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Nicky Gumbel – Vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton puts it this way:
- Act with humility – Act justly
- Always assume the best – Love mercy
- Never betray a confidence – walk humbly with God who knows and sees all things
Lord, help us to do the right thing regardless of circumstances. Thank you that what is past is forgiven and forgotten. Thank you that you have put your Spirit within our heart. Guide us to do the right thing today and into the future.