To Change the Way People Act, Values Must Change

Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB)

The majority of Christians want to change the daily behavior of all the living, but all the living—including some Christians—have no desire to change daily actions. Some love indulgence in evil. Some see no connection between our behavior and who we are—because we deliberately do bad things at times does not make us bad persons. Some do not believe evil exists—all behavior is explained by personal conditioning, environment, and chemical reactions. Obviously, people’s behavior is a complex consideration!

“Joining a church” does not necessarily change behavior—there are “bad” people in all congregations. Exerting power over people does not change people—when the power which demands conformity is removed, most people revert to old behaviors. Thus neither issuing threats nor offering incentives change people. Neither scare tactics nor bribery endures. People cannot be “tricked” or “forced” into being “good,” even if all could agree on a mutually accepted definition of “good.”

People truly change when their values change. People cease abusing and exploiting people when they value people. People sacrificially serve when they understand Someone bigger than themselves exists. People seek higher values when they realize they can be deceived. People search for enduring values when they realize life is about more than right now. What God did/does for us in Christ changes our values!

The heart of God’s “good news” is not about heaven, or having what you physically desire. It is about what God did for us in Jesus Christ, and is willing to do for us. In that is the reason for changing our values. If our values change, we remain who we are even if the “church” is attacked or coercive power is removed. Being Christian is more than what we believe; it is about who we are, always. Do we belong to God through Christ?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 2 May, 2010


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