I hadn't intended on beginning this blog with this sermon, but as i was seeking an image for something else, I stumbled upon this picture. One good example of this is those who are against gay/lesbian rights, or those against abortion. The Bible tells them these things are wrong. These things are evil. Because it says so in the Bible, and because this is what a person's religion tells them is the case, they believe it is accepted to mistreat people who are gay or lesbian, or those who choose to have an abortion.
Calling someone names, beating them up, bombing an abortion clinic - these are all actions which morally are wrong. However, the people who do these activities hide behind the Bible and their religion. But these actions which they try to do under the protection of the Bible, are actually going against this same book. Beyond the obvious of murder being a sin, we are also often warned that we should treat others as we would want to be treated.
Matthew 7:12 - So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Luke 6:31 - Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Mark 12:31 - The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
Galatians 5:14 - For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
If we are acting reprehensibly towards someone whose beliefs do not follow our own, we are breaking this law. It is a simple law. Treat others they way you would want to be treated. Of course, this slides a bit from the morality topic, but it is a good place to start.
Do not cheat your neighbor, lie, steal, kill, harm, or speak bad of your neighbor, etc. These are the commandments. These commandments are morally sound. And yet people tend to ignore these things and utilize the Bible and God's Word in ways that benefit their personal agendas. This is not moral. It is not following the 10 commandments, and is definitely not following "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
However, there are times when morals go against religion. Which is the "right" thing to do? Take for example this true story...
A young girl, around 14 years of age, had been abused for the last 6 or 7 years by her parents. She has watched her siblings get beaten. She and the others often have bruises, bumps and cuts, untreated broken bones, and the like. The girl is frightened. She knows the family needs help before things get worse, and yet whenever one of the other children turned their parents in, things would get really bad.
So, she went to the one person we are supposed to trust - her pastor. She told him what was happening. She even showed him the bruises, and asked for his help.
"Remember the fourth commandment," he told her. "Honor thy father and thy mother."
He did nothing more to help her or her family.
He followed the path of religion... or, at least, a small minute portion of it - one small verse. But, morally, did he behave as would have been "right"?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with religion - so long as people do not use religion as an excuse to not help someone, or to further the hurt to someone, or to in any way cause hurt or harm to another.