Looking back on my legal career, I’m not sure I always recognized the difference between right and wrong. I always counseled my client to do what was lawful, but in hindsight that may not always have been the same thing as doing what was right from a Christian perspective.
It’s tempting to justify our actions by saying they’re lawful but that doesn’t mean we’ve done the right thing. “Legality” is not the only way to judge our actions. We also need to consider God’s instructions to us, including the way we should treat each other.
Too often we focus on our legal right to do something without questioning whether we should. Sometimes the exercise of our legal rights unintentionally hurts other people or puts others at risk. Listen to your heart. Pray. God will guide you.
Obviously, we must follow laws and regulations that apply to us and exercise our legal rights when appropriate to do so, but legality is not enough to justify all our behavior – especially when we don’t feel good about what we are doing. Jesus wants us to follow His example, for our sake and the sake of others.
Jesus tells us, “all who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on a solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won’t collapse, for it is built on rock.
But those who hear my instructions and ignore them are foolish, like a man who builds his house on sand. For when the rains and floods come and the storm winds beat against his house it will fall with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7: 24-27)
Next time we are about to speak, post on social media, or do something simply because it’s within our legal right, consider whether we are also acting in a manner consistent with Jesus’ teachings.
If so, awesome. If not, follow Him.