Our parents taught us the basics about honesty, not lying and so
forth. Our Sunday School teachers told us the same things. Our
Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Brownies and Girl Scout leaders — ditto.
We heard the ten commandments read on Sunday during worship and
the summary of the law, too. Then we heard the words of St. James,
a stickler if there ever was one, about how breaking one law was
a guilty verdict on all ten.
Well, with all that conditioning and reinforcing, it all had
to be for some reason, like our inclinations are such that
doing the opposite of the ten was really good and in our self-
interest, and a lot more fun and that all that conditioning
was by the afore-mentioned party-pooping curmudgeons.
Well, we learned the lessons and at some point along the way
discovered that the commandments actually have a lot to do
with love and are not arbitrary rules imposed from on high to
kill the fun and trip us up, but rather are a blueprint of how
to return love to God and how to love others as we would like
to be loved.
We did a pretty good job of doing the right thing for the right
reasons, but now, for just doing the right thing, we are looking
like paragons of virtue in comparison to just about everything we
see coming from the people responsible for running our federal
government. Can the bar get any lower?
As an elder in one of my congregations once pontificated, “So,
if you are only doing what you are supposed to do, why should
that be to your credit and worthy of praise?” Talk about a
curmudgeon. Aren’t we Christians supposed to encourage one
another? “Hey, good job,” can’t be all that bad.
I kind of like being thought of as a paragon of virtue, and
then a little bird tweets in my ear, “Pride goeth before a