Standards that Set the Bar: How Do We Compare to Them, America?

God has High Standards. Do you ever stop and think about how those might apply to everyday life here in the good old USA? We probably have laws that say some of the same stuff, but the Bible certainly doesn’t lower the bar when it comes to how we should live:
“‘Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.
Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
Do not defraud or rob your neighbor…
Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly…” (Leviticus 19:11-15, NIV)

Leviticus 19 lists various laws that deal with how we treat one another. This list offers a pretty good plumb-line to set against a culture, and how much that culture reflects the design and character of God.

A godly society would tell the truth, would respect its Creator, would be unselfish and honest with neighbors, and would not oppress those who have special needs. Its justice system would be unbiased, treating all participants fairly and equally. I bet if you took a poll, the vast majority of folks here in America would agree that those standards represent how we should live. So, take a look around.

Here in America, how are we doing on this scorecard? Stealing? Lots of it. Lying and deception? Wow, probably more than at ANY period in our history. Profanity and swearing? Oops. (It’s become common on TV, and has even snuck into widely-seen advertising…) Theft? Check. Taking care of less fortunate? Been downtown in any major city lately? Seen any homeless folks? Fair and unbiased justice? Not so much. How is it that our country fails to live up to these standards even though most people would agree that they are the way we should live?

I don’t care whether you are talking about Obama’s America or Trump’s America, our standards on these issues is apparently pretty low. I’m not sure how YOU look at it, but at a quick glance I’d say we aren’t doing too well with these laws… kinda sad, isn’t it? Freedom is great because it gives us opportunity, but freedom is really scary because it gives us opportunity.

Even the most casual observer would look at us and say, “Wow, the American culture is  not doing very well when held up to God’s standards…” Each of us can compare that list from Leviticus to our society and find room for improvement. But don’t miss the trees for the forest. Focus a bit more, and read that list again. Hold those standards up not to America, but just to YOURSELF. Look at the standards; look in the mirror. Then be honest! (Well the list says to be, right off the top, doesn’t it?). Stop and compare God’s standards not to culture in general, but to yourself. As Joey Tribbiani would say, “How YOU doin’?”

Standards We Should Consider

The law says “Do not steal or practice false dissemination;
It says to treat our fellow man with due consideration.
It tells us not to lie or steal, it says that God is strong and real,
That justice isn’t what we feel, but a Holy God’s creation.
The Bible sets the standards that a Holy God expects;
His character is what the Bible and the law reflects.
Everything that’s written there is true and just and right and fair,
Suggesting that we all should care for those whom it protects.
The law is good for everyone, but just to make it clearer:
It works the best when you decide to read it to the mirror.

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