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What is ethics?....continued


The responsibility of helping and caring for others is central to Christian ethics; it is about the loving care of others.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.

Therefore our concern for each other fulfils the law of Christ. William Barclay in his book "Ethics in a Permissive Society" says the basis Christian ethic is concern.

"…. the basis of the Christian ethic is clear- the basis of the Christian ethic is concern. Here is the essence of three of the great parables of Jesus. In the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25.31-46), the standard of the final judgment of men is quite simply: Were you concerned about people in trouble? In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16.19-30) there is not the slightest indication that the rich man was in any way cruel to Lazarus. The trouble was that he never noticed the existence of Lazarus. Lazarus was there in poverty and pain and the rich man simply accepted him as part of the landscape; he was not in the least concerned; and in the parable he finished up in hell.

The third parable is that of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.29-37). The whole point of the parable is the concern of the Samaritan. While the others passed by on the other side, concerned only to avoid all contact with suffering, the Samaritan was concerned and did something.

William Booth would always deny that the vast and wide ranging work of the Salvation Army was planned. He used to say:

We saw the need. We saw the people starving, we saw people going about half-naked, people doing sweated labour; and we set about bringing a remedy for these things. We were obliged-there was a compulsion. How could one do anything else?

But the whole trouble is that plenty of people can do something else - they can do nothing. It was this concern that haunted a man like William Booth."

The root of Christian ethics is Christ in that it is he who has set the standard for our conduct and behaviour by his example and it is he who enables, encourages and empowers people to occasionally touch the standard that God has set for mankind.

Index to the topic

What is ethics?
A definition
A deeper definition of ethics
A deeper definition of Christian ethics
Why should we bother about ethics
The root of Christian ethics
    a) relationship
    b) freedom
    c) love
    d) responsibility
The Bible in Christian ethics

Other Material
1. Ethics by David J Garrard

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