“Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole fleet ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play.” C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity.
Can we have both Morality and Harmony?
Absolutely, it’s possible if we keep in mind there is an important connection…
Here’s an example from my life…
I have debt and have chosen to repay it. I need to step up to the plate and be responsible about it. I probably have enough debt that some would think I’m foolish to repay it… that I should just throw in the cards and start over. Many do and I do not fault them for taking that option. However, I am being led by God to stand firm and to repay my debts. Important: Whenever He is letting me know something I really need to listen! So I’m repaying my debts and I’m comfortable with that decision.
Applying this life situation to C.S. Lewis’ Harmony, Morality and defining the connection…
Part 1: Fair play and harmony between individuals. This is the do unto others as you would have others do unto you part. I need to do the right thing. Repaying my debt should bring harmony. Ok, so here’s the connection between Harmony and Morality… it’s Humility. I need to humble myself and put my brotherfellow first in this situation. Very important.
Part 2: What we might call tidying up or harmonizing the things inside each individual. I really need to get the log out of my eye on this one. In doing what is right, I’m hopeful to restore harmony, but I have to be humble and continue to do the right thing (i.e., taking extra care to learn from the experience and not let it happen again).
Part 3: The third part boils down to “…what course the whole fleet ought to be on.” There’s a whole lot that could be said to this one… but keeping Morality and Harmony in the context of my example, I’m heading for admonishment. Admonishment – that’s a fancy church word… Merriam-Webster says it means “to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to” … that’s great, I need that. I would encourage you to read the blog post by Adam Flynt about Admonishing One Another . He pretty much nailed it. The last thing we would want to do when we really want to “help somebody out” is to make it a witch hunt, with an end result that displays something other than the loving kindness that Jesus gave us as an example. The bottom line here: work to keep our Morality, Harmony and Humility in the same sentence. Are you with me? Great, because we all need help and encouragement from time to time, and, as Flynt states, “The purpose of admonishment is to help someone know, love, and trust Jesus more.” If we are (1) in a position to admonish, and (2) are doing it correctly, we are, in a nutshell, talking about the whole fleet working together.
Morality, Harmony and Humility all in the same sentence… sounds pretty sweet.
Is there an example of Morality, Harmony and Humility in your world today?
Great question and one I will ponder today. It’s one thing to be holier than thou and another to speak the truth in love AND with humility because of our own weaknesses. Congratulations for working to repay the debt.