By Mark Lubbock
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another; be compassionate and humble.”
1 Peter 3:8 - 8
Social norms change with every new generation.
A wonderful example is to look at personal journals from the founders of our great nation. In a letter, George Washington shows his deep conviction and devotion:
“I cannot conceive any more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source and original fountain of all power… I shall now, Sir, close my correspondence with you, perhaps forever.”
An appreciation of God and His sovereignty is evident in the routine communication from most of the founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin offered observations that go contrary to the social norms of today:
“The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself in being watered and putting forth leaves, although it never produced any fruit.”
Franklin also publicly promoted positive values that conform to the Proverbs such as:
“Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout.”
Today, the folks in media and those who speak publicly clearly have a very different set of values than that exhibited by our founding fathers.
The comparison leads us to ask, “What are the governing values of my household?”
The answer will either conform to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible––or not!
We all have value systems in our minds, but they can be far different from the value systems found in our hearts. The Bible tells us that our actions spring from the depths of our heart, so the behaviors and choices we make reflect the state of our hearts.
To flesh this out, consider our behavior when watching television with our families. When somebody curses, or a “love scene” (let’s face it––it is more often a “sex scene”) appears, what example do we set for families? My nephew immediately turns the channel or turns off the television. When a commercial comes on that reflects values he does not support, he changes the channel. When words are used that conflict with his values he turns the sound off. So guess what?––his family follows his example.
So, if you are numb to the point where you don’t even notice the cursing, the sex scenes, and inappropriate behavior, your value system shows that these things are OK.
Even if in your mind you think, “Well no, I don’t like this, but it is everywhere and there is nothing I can do about it,” the fact that you take no action shows these behaviors are part of your value system!
My goal here is to shine a light on a growing blight within the church and community. I believe men set the pace by quiet acceptance or loving leadership. If our behavior shows what we believe, others will––at the very least––respect this. Over time most in our household will adopt the same value system.
What are our values?
Jim Boesch, a deployed staff member of the General Commission on UM Men, helps folks establish values system and develop ways to bring their behavior into conformance with these values.
Jim leads a session where participants list specific values and behaviors on a flip chart. I encourage you to do something similar with your friends and family.
It might be something like this:
- Love others as myself.
- Keep my promises.
- Only let things into my eyes and ears that honor Jesus.
The idea is to measure actions against values. If they do not align, then you do not take that step.
In the 1930s, IBM created a culture that encouraged people to stop and think. Signs everywhere in IBM said, “THINK.”
As a result, everyone in the building began to assess details about everything they did, and come up with better ways of doing every-day tasks! In fact, the signs even affected visitors.
One way to ensure that you incorporate your values into daily living is by keeping them always in front of you. You might write them out on a small piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror, or auto dashboard, or computer monitor. Such a practice will always keep your values prominent in your mind.
You may also want to review your values and behaviors with your family and friends. Examine a recent event and discuss how well this fits in with your declared values. By intentionally and routinely reviewing behaviors, you and your friends will develop a culture of values-based living.
As a closing shot at giving you a baseline to measure behavior, consider the attributes reflected in the scripture passage below. How many of these are a part of your current spiritual DNA? What would you like to see added?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
––Galatians 5:22-24 - 22
We can either sit back and let the world and those around us define who we are, or we can assume personal responsibility and make the appropriate and necessary course adjustments to make sure we are the people that Jesus Christ wants us to be––His disciple.
You might want some help in this whole process and the General Commission on UM Men is here to help. Contact me or other staff members for more information on how we can assist and facilitate transformational training. We can suggest speakers who will lead you in a transformational process.
The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff
General Commission on UM Men