There are some major controversies – ranging from homosexual rights to gun control to Bible reading in public schools or prayers in/on military bases – brewing all across America today. The arguments, full of zeal on both sides, rage. One side, filled with passion based on belief in principle, the other based on procedures designed to prohibit.
I want to state a biblical principle, but first allow me to restate a point I have made on several occasions in various commentaries: The Bible is not, I repeat, not, a religious book. It is a book of transcendent principles, designed to enable humanity to maximize all aspects of life through the utilization of mankind’s free will. I call it “decisionability.”
The principle is articulated thusly: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV).
Children need a clearly defined moral framework in which to learn and grow. They learn to exercise their sovereign decisionability via experiences encountered in life.
A primary means of building healthy, godly principles in their lives is by teaching them the difference between principle and procedure. A principle is an inner settled conviction which guides one’s behavior and life. A procedure is an external policy or method imposed from outside. The problem arises when the two are confused in application. Today, children, especially, are not taught the difference. They are not taught that it is permissible to compromise on procedure, but never on principle.
The principles taught our children with our words must be backed up with our actions. Actions have consequences. If you bend, and keep, a young sapling growing in a given direction, in a few short years you will have a tree bent in that direction. Children of abusive parents often grow up to become abusers. Children of rigid, legalistic, ultra-religious parents grow up the same or reject and totally abandon their past. Children without solid, secure, moral principles find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make decisions on something as old fashioned as simple “right or wrong.”
This is the basis for many of the continual and constantly emerging problems facing America today. We are seeing the results of a generation arising that is unaware of the simple truth that there are moral absolutes; there IS such a thing as right and wrong. Civil procedures are replacing moral absolutes.
American liberties are founded upon God-given Judeo Christian principles: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …” Our freedoms and right to “life and liberty” are based on principles and are not contingent on any particular political party being in power or liberal or conservative judges ruling on procedures.
If we desire a country of continuing “liberty and justice for all,” we must produce a generation that will grow up to become wise, decision-able individuals operating with a full awareness of their own God-given sovereignty, secure in their ability make right, versus wrong, choices.
America’s goal should be to give this generation a solid foundation based upon unchanging moral principles operating within a stable-yet-flexible framework of negotiable procedures.
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