“The building blocks of society have been grievously undermined. Traditional family life has been eroded. Education has ceased transmitting western culture to the next generation and instead is teaching the young to hate their society.” (Nikki Haley, Colin Cramphorn Memorial Lecture at the Policy Exchange think tank, London, June 2022)
Family ethics and values matter. It is within families that moral character is best established. Traditional family life has certain characteristics designed into it that somewhat automatically transmit moral standards into the children. This is invaluable when they live and grow up in an environment where right and wrong are family norms.
As Nikki Haley correctly identifies, this significant building block has been undermined. And God provides a bottom line for why we have moral failure today. Specifically, we have a failure of moral clarity in our leadership.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).
Generally, failure at the leadership level causes a moral failure for society in general.
“Behold, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse; the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).
The history of Israel’s leadership failure is well documented. They did not choose life and good, but instead rejected God’s moral authority over them.
Today it has developed into the fact that there is no societal institution (including family) that promotes godly moral authority. Even religion has lost whatever moral authority it had. However, God is never out of the picture.
His plan of salvation includes a people that He would choose to live the example of moral character. But as Israel consistently refused to listen to God’s prophets and change their choice of evil over good, God had plans for a family built on moral character to fulfill what Israel failed to do.
The Eternal has assembled a small group of people – His ecclesia – His Church – and called them to repentance. This change of heart opens the mind to voluntarily choose good over evil. Collectively, this group forms a family with Christ as the head – the source of moral authority. This family then stands on exactly the same foundation as Israel did – but now with the strength of God’s Spirit to choose the right over wrong.
We have been called to address the bottom line of moral failure today. Within our physical and spiritual families, we are to recognize God’s moral authority. We recognize a formal hierarchy of authority within both these families. The Father, Christ, husband, wife and children. This is true within the family of the Church as well. Through the head, Christ, we see the Father.
The authority we must clearly recognize is always the Father.
“You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me” (John 7:28-29).
To know Christ is to know the Father. And to know them both gives us the ultimate moral authority. We are to submit to that authority and allow godly right and wrong to be the arbiters of our personal morality.
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; Therefore choose life …” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
As we individually build moral character, so the whole family of God benefits. Each “joint” supplying what the body needs to function as an example of moral character in a world deprived of character.
“Let us “speak the truth in love and grow up in all things unto Him who is the head – Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).