Question 1: Have you ever rationalized doing what you knew to be wrong in order to help yourself or others?
Question 2: Why does allowing the end to justify the means move you away from God?
The following stories are true, but names have been changed to protect the students that actually did the things mentioned.
James was caught speeding his freshman year during a late night snack break. He told the police officer he was trying to get his takeout order from Taco Bell back to the dorm before the food got cold. He also used the line from the commercial, “I was making a run to the border…” in an attempt at humor. The cop never even smiled as he wrote the ticket.
Susan was in tough shape after getting caught with answers to a mid term exam. Her teaching assistant (T.A.) called her to her office to discuss the transgression and Susan first attempted to use the blame game by saying two other gals were the real ringleaders. Seeing that would not work, she went to plan B, and started crying. Through her sobs, she tried to elicit sympathy by saying she was under a lot of stress due to a parent being in tough health back home and recently losing her work study job on campus. When the T.A. asked for a number to call home to verify her story, Susan quickly balked and said her mom was feeling better.
Most of us can relate to using excuses to cover up some behavior we are not very proud of. The excuses and lines we make up (often on the spot), may seem humorous in retrospect, but it illustrates what we do much of the time – allow the end to justify the means. You know what I am talking about. Stuff like:
Telling a little white lie “so nobody gets hurt.” “Borrowing” stuff from a lab or work because “my friend really needs it.” Dating and getting too physical with a student who isn’t even a follower of Jesus, because “he or she really needs Jesus.” Adopting language and behavior you don’t normally engage in to feel like you fit in, or to try and impress others, because you say, “it’s a good opportunity to reach out to this group on campus.” You get the picture.
Read Luke 16:1-15.
Scripture does not support the idea that the “end justifies the means.” God’s standards of honesty and truthfulness are clear throughout the Bible. He calls his followers to be a distinct, holy, and representative people, different because of His transforming grace, influence, and power.
The first century Pharisees used religious rules to control people. Jesus strongly condemned them by saying, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your heart (Luke 16:15).” Both the means and their ultimate motive and goal were wrong in His sight.
Have you ever been more concerned about how you appear before your “family, friends, and colleagues” than the holy gaze of God? Is one of your excuses that you have good reason to support your behavior? Are you willing to consider that your good “reasons” are driven by bad methods and poor thinking? Walk wisely. Choose the right path and leave excuses behind.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz