Life, for all intents and purposes comes down to the choice of right and wrong. How we determine right and wrong is a matter of faith, objective truth, and morality created in the understanding of the first two. This isn’t to say every choice is easy, or every choice will benefit us in one way or another. Not everything can be a win/win, but in the context of our place in the cosmos and in the earth created by God, we can find joy even on the cruelest of days. So, right and wrong, a mine field for some, leading to a landscape overwrought with shades of gray, but then for others a starkness of black and white pigments dotting everything seen. I would put it like having the wool pulled from one’s eyes and suddenly everything makes sense and those things which still mystify can be explained with an understanding only the wise can possess. This isn’t to say, making a “right” decision is always easy, it’s not for sure, when put into the context of hurting someone’s feelings for the sake of being right, and if we care about them at all, we almost always defer to omission or outright lies. A more wrong decision can’t be made when we choose to make decisions for others without their consent. To make a life dedicated to right and wrong, means we aspire to look into the heavens and seek God’s light in all we do. We embrace agape love and seek the light of truth when we seek “rightness”, and likewise we hide from the voice of God, much like Adam, when we embrace “wrongness” or sin.
So, let’s start with the choice everyone makes daily, sin, a truly selfish and despicable way of life, and yet we all embrace sin as if it were the only flotation device on a sinking ship. For most of us, we live a rather uneventful life, waking up and going about our days with little a thought on whether we live our lives right-ordered. We go about pursuing our personal goals, and at the same time, we seek to help those who might need help and by the end of the day, we’re tired and might watch some television before we head off to bed. Uneventful, right? Of course, but if we peel back the layers of our day, the ugly truth begins to be exposed. How many times did our impatience through the day get the best of us, and this impatience cause us to lash out while we’re driving, or fail to stop and render our services to anyone who might need it? Did we volunteer our time, through the day, perhaps in prayer or in general thanksgiving? How about when we finally arrived home, did we look at our spouse and tell them how much they meant to us? Finally, at the end of the day, did we examine our day and give thanks to the Almighty God, with a general realization, our day is nothing without God in our lives? For most of us, this isn’t something which is a part of our day. Some might say, you might be thinking it right now, I just don’t have the energy to do all of this every day, or I won’t mean as much if I say it every day, perhaps you just don’t think there is a need to do as much when a little goes a long way. Whatever the reason, right is based on the objective, and no matter where we stand in life, this objective will remain constant.
Sin doesn’t simply come into the picture like a flash of lightning, set to disrupt the calm of life, instead sin seeps into our very nature and begins to corrupt little by little, and before we are aware, we’ve allowed sin to create its own space in our very soul. Sin seeks to snuff out the light and keep us in utter darkness, because when we reside in the dark, we delude ourselves into thinking no one can see how utterly wretched we can be. Wretched is a proper word for sin and those who embrace sin in their daily life, we are all wretched in one context or another. However, the sin we choose is a matter of choice, not something we’re bound to for eternity, and in our choice we can come to terms with our very nature at any point and choose life, choose goodness, and love.
Love is at the very heart of everything, everything we do, everything we see, and everything we hope to gain in life. Not one of the Graces given to us by God is removed from love. Our very lives are centered on a distinct position of love. Our culture doesn’t exist without the very fabric of family, from parent to child to grandchild, we are all interwoven in such a way as to become a foundational aspect of life which keeps everything moving. The movement of society is directly dependent on the strength of family. Take for instance the issues we have in our world today. From abortion, to homosexuality, to murder and many other moral issues dotting the landscape. The answer exists in God’s love, and the living example of God’s love is the family. The family is the single strongest unit in our world as we know it. It can overcome great obstacles, and the power of a parent teaching their child moral values carries with it more weight than any single act a person can do. When we give the child moral values to look towards, we essentially teach them to fish for the rest of their lives, and give them spiritual nourishment which will feed them in the rough times which are certain to befall them as we have all experienced.
What then do we do, when faced with a choice? Do we run? Do we fight? Do we sacrifice? Questions, we all face every single day of our lives, probably not dramatic choices, but nevertheless important choices which might affect our very souls. The other night I was speaking with my wife, and I am most dependent on her opinions and points of view to gauge where I’m at in life. She is more wise than most and has an ability to cut through rhetoric and get to the meat of any matter. So, as I’m discussing with her the implications of sin on our souls, it occurred to me, the decision of right and wrong as we accept and as we understand them. Therein lies the problem, we as a society/culture are creating our own basis of comprehension, which is to say, we’re determining the morality of life rather than God. We are saying, we are competent enough to forgo an objective moral truth for the ability to utilize our senses as a matter of judgement based in our own experiences. Our point counter-point discussions are devolving into a context of never-ending decision patterns set to meet our subjective points of view. This is nutso, this is as silly a point of context as any person can get to. The day we believe we have the wisdom to redesign the context of morality, is the day we have usurped our beliefs and deigned to be gods of our own making. This is the level of folly on Greek myths can rival.
My discussion with my wife, above all else, illuminated a concept of black and white, essentially right and wrong. Not that I’ve ever dismissed the notion of right and wrong, but the decision complexity to approach right and wrong and then embrace one context or the other is absolutely paramount to the love we must all seek as we embrace God’s presence in our lives. Which is to say, family either is or it is not a priority. If it is, then we must go to it with a full heart and never look back, and in doing so, we’ve made a “right” choice by embracing a God’s Grace in our lives. Ok, so back to the overall point of my discussion with my wife, our lives are about life and death. It’s just that simple, we choose life over death when we choose God. We choose the paradigm of right over wrong when we choose God. Jesus didn’t hang from the tree and declare us to be wishy washy about our lives or our faith, instead his deliberate actions to die for us, to declare forgiveness for those who sought to kill him, and instruction by his very example were the point to be made. Our Blessed Lord, Jesus, wants our fervor for his love, how can we turn away from pure love? The culmination of my discussion with my wife was, our faith is a faith of pain, of sacrifice, and ultimately of death as it depends for all of us.
That’s right, death, think about your eternity, think about where you want to go, and think about what it takes to get there. When we go on trips for just a couple of days, don’t we pack entire car loads of suitcases and supplies so we can get to our destination and then get back with as much ease and comfort as possible? Can you just imagine what we need to prepare for a life of eternity? Our faith isn’t a matter of packing earthly supplies, but instead it’s about purification of body and soul to stand in what can only be surmised as pure love and goodness. Although our lives are precious, we are bound to an understanding of death as it relates to the context of life in general. After we look upon the decisions needed to prepare for an eternal life with God, our first realizations begin to come into context, I’ve not lived a life worthy of goodness and eternal mercy. However, this is what God is giving us, this is what God’s love is promised to us. Mercy, in the sight of our sins, forgiveness in the wake of our actions is what is promised to us, if only we would choose. If only we would choose to accept a “right” and moral way of living, we might begin to realize the frailty of life. If we can associate a life which is never promised one day more, then we can begin to realize the need of moral rightness as death is always near to us, for a promise of eternal love.
Rightness is afoot. Our choices carry with them the weight of life above all else, this is to say, our choices matter a great deal. A few weeks ago, I woke up to see headlines about a law, which was passed by lawmakers in the state of New York, and in their decision, they declared life as a matter of choice rather than a gift to be protected at all costs. When the decision was declared, it was met with cheers and celebrations. The lawmakers were elated, their steps to secure human choice over God’s will moved one step forward in progress. However, for anyone who values life, for anyone who holds the bonds of marriage and family as sacred, this was more than abhorrent, it was wretchedly sad. To know a beautiful life, created by the very nature God created ex nihilo, is being destroyed by the very nature is a cataclysmic explosion of sin and we should all weep for those destroyed in its wake. However, there is hope, we know this, because Jesus existed. God lowered himself and became a man, that we might know his pure nature is love. This is what our hope is foundationally secured to. St. Paul wrote in Corinthians 13:2; “and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains — if I am without love, I am nothing.”
Love is always the right choice, but love isn’t something Hollywood created to make movies, it is the very nature of being to which God is. Love is a choice, the choice for right, the choice to place life above all else, even when the other choices we think we have seem more important because of our choice to be selfish. This is what our choices come down to, putting other before one’s own desires. The moral teachings of the Bible and the Church are not something to be chosen when they suit our daily habits or needs, they are something which much be embraced daily. They are a sacrifice for sure. The sacrifice to put away objects of sin, desires of sin, behaviors of sin, and above all to fold us lovingly into God’s embrace through those sacrifices which are inherent in our free will.
Our choices above all else create in us either a clean hear or a heart of stone, and the harder our heart becomes the more effort it takes on our part and the part of God to crumble the façade which seeks to entomb us in darkness. Remember this, sometimes God must break our heart in order to destroy the wall which surrounds it, but God is the only one who can mend our broken hearts. I hope and pray if you have an ability to choose life, you do, it is so very important and the children which can be saved may have difficult roads ahead in their lives, but at least they will be alive to experience God’s greatness in all which is done. May God bless you and your family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!