The understanding must be freed from two great defects under which it frequently labors….The second is a persistent application to the serious and diligent examination of every object in order to distinguish the good from the evil. (SC 14-15, Chapter 7)
The small red sports car appears out of nowhere within two feet of my rear bumper…then zips right, straight, and left again, two feet from my front bumper…before speeding forward and out of sight. What was that?
My mental prayer is broken, and a judgment is formed which is not in accord with external appearances. In other words, I have condemned the driver of the small red sports car of multiple sins against humanity.
On my way to work, the driver of the small red sports car is only the first person to be subject to my “diligent examination.” The two seconds required for him to speed past me was ample time for me to condemn him.
Maybe I am right. Maybe he is an inconsiderate driver, just like all the others who buy hot red sports cars and take joy in speeding in and out of traffic just to show off.
Then again, maybe I am wrong. Maybe his mother called him five minutes ago, distraught, trying to revive her husband…his father…who lays on the kitchen floor. Maybe.
Right and wrong, good and evil…so quick to judge, I am quick to condemn and slow to do a diligent examination. Is it good…or evil?
Sometimes my failure to examine the facts in accord with external appearances, the testimony of our senses, or the standards of a corrupt world[i] is of no worldly consequence. What I think of the driver of the little red sports car will not change his life or the direction of the world at large.
Sometimes…my failure is life-threatening. For how many years did I refuse to open my eyes and examine the truths involved in aborting unwanted babies?
Is it good…or evil? It is greater to despise the world than to have it at one’s command.[ii]
How do I know what I see before me? Good or evil? The distinction between the two extremes is often blurred. But it is never without consequence.
Abortion threatens God’s life-giving blessing of marriage and procreation. The driver of the little red sports car threatens my personal pride and ego. In either case, how do I know how to proceed?
God must lead.
[i] SC 14
Question: Lord, in Your eternal time frame, let me take time to consider what I see before me in Your terms. What do I witness before me…good or evil?
Lord, let me pause and reflect. Let me lay your statutes before me and measure what I see before me with your word laid up in my heart.
I have laid up thy word in my heart,
that I might not sin against thee.
Blessed be thou, O Lord;
teach me thy statutes!
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