When we hear or read the term ‘ethics’, we may think of the disciplines of medicine or law and the big questions of life and death. But ethics come into play in all areas of life.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines ethics as: ‘a system of moral principles, by which human actions and proposals may be judged good or bad or right or wrong’. And the Australian not-for-profit The Ethics Centre says: ‘Ethics is a branch of philosophy that aims to answer the basic question, “What should I do?” It’s a process of reflection in which people’s decisions are shaped by their values, principles, and purpose rather than unthinking habits, social conventions, or self-interest.’

So, ethics involves choices, decisions and weighing up right and wrong, in pursuit of the good, the pure, the beautiful, the perfect.

Looking at ethics from a Christian perspective, we know God as the giver of all goodness and the Creator of all beauty. And that Jesus is the only example of perfection the world has seen. In Christian ethics, Scripture is the guide – especially through the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount and the lived example of Jesus – when it comes to right and wrong.

In the 1990s, the acronym ‘WWJD’ – short for What Would Jesus Do? – became a popular slogan among young Christians, widely seen printed on wristbands, t-shirts, caps and stickers. (Its origins reportedly date back to the late 1800s in the US as the result of the popular Charles Sheldon book, In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?

Asking ourselves ‘What would Jesus do?’, consulting Scripture and praying when confronted by a dilemma directs us back to God for his wisdom in our decision-making.

Of course, not all decisions are straightforward, even after prayerful consideration. We know only too well that, in some things, our option may need to be ‘the lesser of two evils’.

And we can’t always do exactly what Jesus would, even if we knew for sure what that was. We also know that no matter how many ‘right’ choices we make, they won’t save us. Only Jesus does that.

So how do we live an ethical life as Christians? And should we even try? Well, as we see on our cover of this edition, God’s word exhorts us to ‘never grow weary of doing good’ as we seek to serve others.

In these pages, we feature stories and a Bible study on this subject and how our everyday decisions are informed by our faith and led by Scripture and Jesus’ example. I pray that you will be blessed by them, as I have been.

And remember, The Lutheran is now available as a digital edition. Go to www.thelutheran.com.au/subscribe to register for free access as an existing print subscriber or to give a subscription as a gift today.


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