What are some important values to live by every day?
So many people have come from broken homes these days that it’s hard to keep count of all the heartbreaking stories. There are so many dysfunctional families that any important values are lost by separated families, some children going to foster care, others by a blending of families, but some families are just plain ripped apart. The encouraging thing is that cycles are made to be broken, and although we are a product of our upbringing, we are responsible for what we do today. There are some families that have resisted the tides of society, which have eroded families by the millions, but those who have been held together by the strong bond of love have broken the cycle of their own dysfunctional family. They have begun a new cycle and one they hope their children will continue. The bad news is that wrong values can be passed along too, and with that, the danger of this being repeated and continued from one generation to the next. Escaping cycles of poverty can be done. It is much harder for families to break the pattern they have known for generations than it is to begin a new one.
Treating People with Respect
Romans chapter 13 refers to those who are in authority and they contain the command to “be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom 13:1) because “he (or she) is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom13:4). In this way we can show “respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Rom 13:7b). Jesus taught us to love our neighbors just as we love ourselves (Matt 22:39), and here’s what that looks like: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10).
The Preservation of Life
Life is precious. That’s why there are such severe penalties for murder and involuntary manslaughter, as with drunken driving. When someone’s life is taken, it sends ripples throughout the immediate family, but also within the community itself from where the life was taken. There is nothing more valuable and precious that you can take than a person’s life. It also robs family members and friends of their loved one and forever removes that person from their lives. This is why God has established those in authority; to protect lives. The government’s job is tied to God’s sovereignty exactly as Paul wrote, “he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom 13:4). Whoever resists the men and women of law enforcement resists God Himself. This is why the fight for life is so important to pro-lifers and why it’s not surprising that prosecuting attorneys have often moved for charges of double-homicide if someone is accused of killing a mother who also happened to lose their child. Value life. It is one of the chief values of mankind.
One of the greatest values that we can show is that of sacrificing oneself to serve another, particularly on a voluntary (unpaid) basis. To give of one’s time, talents, and treasure, is one of the most redeeming of human qualities. That’s why God valued mercy so much, however, you can donate blood, serve in a homeless shelter, give money to the poor, and do all sorts of good things, but Jesus says “’I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’” (Matt 9:13a), where He quotes Hosea 6:6. What this means is that you can do a lot of good…and end up doing a lot of good for nothing. Unless you show mercy to others, and in particular, how you treat those you are helping, all your good works are useless. Part of being merciful to others is in how you treat people, no matter where they’re at in life. When you treat others with dignity and respect, you show them that they are important and valued. Honestly, the roles could easily be reversed. There are no guarantees of staying where we are at in life. The elevator of life has lots of ups but also many levels down. When we help others, and we do so not to be seen by others, Jesus says “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40).
Historically speaking, families seem to be the foundation of a nation or civilization. As the family goes, so goes society. There is a very close cause and effect relationship with respect to the children who enter into adulthood and into society and the affect they have on the world around them. When families begin to disintegrate (and they are), so will the nation. It’s only a matter of time or a few generations. That makes having godly values even more important today than even yesterday.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.