Situation Ethics

Is it right to sometimes to do wrong for a good reason? Ethics, true morality, true principles of right or wrong come only from the Lord and His law (Gen. 18:25; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 19:7-9; 2 Tim. 3:15-17), and any transgression of His law is always wrong/sin (Heb. 2:2; Jas. 4:17; 1 John 3:4; 5:17).  Therefore, there is never a situation where it is right to do wrong, that is, violate the law of God. Neither will God excuse violations of His law unless the offender meets His conditions of pardon (Ex. 32:33; Ezek. 18:4; Nah. 1:3; Rom. 6:23).

 

Example: the Bible teaches that it is wrong to lie (Pr. 6:6:16-19; Eph. 4:25), that is, tell untruths meant to deceive (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:2-4; John 8:44). Someone tells a lie because they were in a “situation” and did not want to hurt someone’s feelings.  Their intentions were right, but their method was wrong. They lied/sinned and should have chosen another way.

 

Here is one of many Old Testament examples of situation ethics. The law of the Lord said not to touch the Ark of the Covenant (Num. 4:15). Uzza bent the rules and touched the ark out of good intentions because he thought the “situation” called for it (1 Chron. 13:9). The Bible says, “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God” (13:10).

 

There are situations, even difficult ones, where it may seem that sinning is the right answer, but it’s not. People often need empathy and support, but also a voice that will encourage them to do biblically right. In this way, situations will always workout for the best (Rom. 8:28; John 14:15).

 

May the Lord continue to bless us all!

Richard Stevens, III

Minister of the Beckley Heights church of Christ

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