To moral health


To moral health


Sunday, December 08, 2019

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SOME go through many pains to remain physically clean.

While this, commendably, is part of a larger call to godliness, moral cleanness must never be overlooked as this furnishes a key indispensable to general health and well-being. The low sink of moral debauchery in which our world swims deepens its vortex as humans become more and more alienated from the basic tenets the Bible, God's word, sets out.

In fact, there is little or nothing in relation to human living that the Bible does not pronounce on, and when it does, it does so with an accuracy that astonishes man, even as it trends in a direction that works to humanity's ultimate benefit.

The Apostle Paul, the most prolific writer in scripture, gives this command: “Deaden...your body respects sexual immorality, uncleanness, uncontrolled sexual passion, hurtful desire, and greediness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5,6). Higher than the laws of man, the verse calls us to accountability when it says: “On account of those things, the wrath of God is coming”.

Cleanliness is broader than the physical

By asking us to “cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit”, the scripture at 2 Cor 7:1 underscores the need to go over and beyond a call to be physically clean. In fact, cleanliness is sorely defeated when one divorces the physical from the moral.

The Pharisaic and Sadducean leaders of Jesus' day did this in their horse and pony show that required handwashing to be done up to the elbows, as borne out at Mark 7:1-5. However, Jesus, upon weighing the leaders in clean scales, found their sullied thoughts woefully wanting.

Jesus reminds them as he does us: “Nothing from outside that enters into a man can defile him, since it enters...into his stomach, and it passes out into the sewer.” Add to that, “that which comes out of a man is what defiles him. For from inside, out of the heart of men, come injurious reasoning, sexual immorality, thefts, murders, acts of adultery, greed, acts of wickedness, deceit, brazen conduct, an envious eye...and unreasonableness. All these wicked things...defile a man” (Mark 7:18-23). What a twist!

Clearly, any who, at once, adopts an elaborate view of bodily hygiene and sets aside God's laws on moral cleanness, in the words of Jesus, compares to a vessel, clean on the outside but on the inside full of immoderateness (Matthew 23:25-6).

Cleanliness is not easy, but not a burden

“This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

Scriptural mandates do not pressure us; if there is any pressuring, it is to mould us into better beings, productive citizens, healthier people — physically and morally. The real albatross comes from deviating from the standards of the Bible to create, as we can see, lawless humanity, dysfunctional citizens, a society with growing incidence of deathly lifestyle viruses, murders, and scant regard for our fellow human.

In God's request at Micah 6:8, we read: “What is God requiring of you? Only to exercise justice, to cherish loyalty, and to walk in “modesty” with your God.” The request at Micah 6:8 is a most reasonable one. We do have limitations, as denoted in the word 'modesty'. It follows, therefore, that we need laws — physical and moral — to govern us and rein us in. Far from being draconian, the statutes of He who created us lovingly beckon all to obey. He extends the invite at Ps 34:8 to taste and see that He and, by extension, His word, is good.

Ours is the benefit of having greater joy, peace of mind, not being hounded by the law for a misdeed — indicators inextricably bound up with our health and well-being, if we follow the Bible's broader take on cleanness; And even if we are to err in the keeping of his laws, while we do not presume on his mercy, we can take comfort in it: “As a father shows mercy to his sons, God has shown mercy to those who fear him. For he well knows our formation, remembering that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:13, 14)

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

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