Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
June 1, 2014
Get up every morning and try to do the right thing
Pastors often counsel people who have gotten in trouble by doing the wrong thing. I invite people to have hope. Though the past cannot be undone, a new beginning is possible. My advice: Bury the past in the sea of God’s forgiveness and get up every morning determined to do the right thing in every situation.
A new beginning may require a change in the company you keep. If you run with losers you will likely become a loser. Winners associate with good people, people who are doing the right thing. People who are doing the wrong thing pull you down. People who respect neither the laws of God nor man will persuade you to make wrong decisions. Running with the wrong crowd invites disaster.
There are evil people everywhere but there are also many good people, godly people. They are not hard to find. They are the people who consistently do the right thing. They treat others fairly. They refuse to lie or cheat to make a profit. They are not perfect. But they simply get up every morning and try to do what is right.
Such people are often Christians or Jews. Both Jews and Christians take their cue from God as to what is right and wrong. That is why they are called “godly” people. Ask them to explain “good” and Jews and Christians may sometimes mention the words of an Old Testament prophet named Micah. His definition of what is good is one of the most beloved verses in the Bible, Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah summed up brilliantly what God expects of his children – to practice justice, kindness and humility. He warned us that God is not impressed with our “offerings” if at the same time we are mistreating people and proudly “strutting our stuff” in God’s face.
Observe that Micah uses the word “requires,” not requests. Fairness, mercy and humility are not suggested but expected. The consequences of not measuring up to God’s expectations are severe, according to Micah. Refuse to do what is right and God will not answer you when you cry out to him. He will “hide his face.”
Godly people try to live by biblical standards. They believe the Bible shows them how God wants them to live. Godly folks do the right thing because they are children of God and doing the right thing “runs in the family.”
My dad was a godly man. Not in words but in deeds. He got up every day determined to do what was right. As a young pastor godly people got my attention. Frank Hugh Pierce was such a man. He ran a body shop and raised a family on a modest income. He did not have much of this world’s goods but he did have integrity. He refused to bilk insurance companies for repairs he had not made. Day after day he found the moral courage to do the right thing.
The highest standard by which Christians measure their lives is the example of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s eternal “Plumb Line.” Conduct not “in line” with the character of Jesus is conduct that is “out of plumb” with the will of God. And Jesus made it clear that the people who are going to heaven are those who do the will of God.
Being accountable to a few basically good people is a good way to find the backbone to do the right thing. Over the years I have found it a blessing to meet regularly with a few other men who helped me stay on the straight and narrow path.
Looking for a way to get out of trouble and make a new start? There is no better way than to get up every morning and try to do the right thing. Sooner or later, with God’s help, you’ll be a winner. + + +