A man in Long Beach, California, got an order of chicken at a fast food place for himself and the woman he was with. When he opened his box of chicken, he was surprised to find money instead of chicken! Mistakenly, the manager gave this man a box of money instead of his order of chicken. The man immediately returned the box of money to the delight of the manager. “Don’t go anywhere! I want to call the TV station and tell them our story.” The man refused to be on TV and eventually shared with the manager that the woman he was with was not his wife – but he was a married man.
How does it happen that a man cheating on his wife would return cash money? It all boils down to how we go about determining our values in life. Psalm 15 is all about integrity and values. Whatever a person’s values are in life will predict their behavior. Verse 4 of this psalm tells us that a value is something that is set and does not change – even when it’s not convenient for us to hold to that value. So how do so many people end up with conflicting values? It’s possible; they are using the wrong criteria to determine their values.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the ways people determine right and wrong in their lives:
- Feelings – nothing more than feelings – Values are determined by what feels right to us. The assumption is that changing emotions are an accurate test for unchanging truth. However, feelings can never be the standard for determining right and wrong.
- You’re Ok – I’m OK – “My friend did this, and she turned out Ok or didn’t turn out Ok.” The assumption here is that it can be right to do wrong or wrong to do right. Values are based on whether or not the action yields a good result. Good is defined by the moment!
- The Price is Right – For some people, right and wrong cannot be decided until one sees the “price tag.”The opinion here is that something is right only if I think it is affordable. Values for some is like a business proposition, and one has to “crunch the numbers” before deciding what is right. If it cost me too much to do the right thing – I may have to come up with an alternative. This is exactly what David is talking about in Psalm 15:4.
- I want to be Loved by You – How many of us have changed our mind about something because, “Most people I know seem to think that ____________ is OK…” However, truth is not determined by how many accept or reject an idea, or agree or disagree with a position. The question should be, “Is this true or false, right or wrong?”
What’s the Point?
How are you determining the values you live by? Are you using any of the approaches described above? If so, you must revisit your values in life! Values need to be based on the Bible, not our culture, opinions of others, nor based on the situation at hand. If your values are based on anything but scripture – then you lose your distinctiveness as a believer and follower of Jesus! When someone, who is not a follower of Jesus, looks at your life – what do they see? Do they see their own reflection in your life or do they see the reflection of Jesus? Let’s make an effort to anchor our values to God’s word – and live by a set of values that we never have to change or apologize for!