Because He Loves Me – The Foundation of Christian Ethics


“I’m everything I am Because You Loved Me” – Celine Dion

Back when we were dating my wife and I went to the movies a lot.  I think most couples do that, on any given Friday or Saturday night the movie theatres are filled with young couples out getting to know one another in a non-threatening environment.  And what could be more non-threatening than spending 2 or 3 hours in the dark not having a conversation?

One of the movies we saw during this formative time for our relationship was called “Up Close & Personalstarring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer.  I won’t go into all the details of the plot, mostly because I don’t remember, but in a nutshell Redford and Pfeiffer are news reporters on assignment inside a maximum security prison when a riot breaks out.  Pfeiffer is trapped inside and has to rely on Redford, speaking to her through a radio to keep calm and guide her out safely.  Love and romance ensues.  This film is the very definition of a “chick-flick”.

I mention this because the movie’s theme song, “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion had a profound impact on my wife at the time.

I have mentioned before that my wife suffers from PTSD but this was early on in her treatment and before we got the diagnosis right.  At the time she was being treated as bipolar which kind of worked but didn’t address a lot of the anxiety she was forced to live with at the time.  In order to combat her anxiety she needed to cling to something real, something rock solid that would never let her down.  In a lot of ways I became a sort of touchstone for her.

Of course in the fullness of time, I let her down.  It was inevitable, I am human.

But before you get the wrong idea, this isn’t a post about my marriage or marriage counseling.

Recently my research has been focused on the subject of ethics, most specifically the origins of ethical thought from a Christian perspective.  Any study of Christian Ethics would be incomplete without a serious look at the Godfather of Ethics, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  As Bonhoeffer explains it is love that drives us to be ethical but not in the way you might think.  He puts it this way;

…love is something which happens to man, something passive, something over which he does not himself depose, simply because it lies beyond his existence in disunion.  Love means the undergoing of a transformation of one’s entire existence by God – Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Ethics

You see, it’s not through our choice to love that we are ethical.  Rather it stems from that fact that we are loved by God.  This then drives us to act in accordance with that love, ethically toward our fellow human beings.  At least that’s the way Bonhoeffer sees it and I tend to agree.

Put another way;

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. [1 John 4:19-21 emphasis mine]

So harkening back to Celine Dion, I am everything I am because God loved me.  And it is my duty as a human being to love my fellow humans with that same kind of unconditional brotherly love that God has shown me.  That is the basis of ethics.  The love of God is not earned, and neither should be the love of a brother or sister.

I have begun work on a second book, focusing on the ethics of economics and morality of money.  As a result I expect this to be a recurring theme in my writing for the foreseeable future.  More information to follow as the book takes shape, for now just keep your eyes on this space and feel free to comment on what you see.  Also, you can always purchase my first book “Meekonomics; Kingdom Economics from a Love Based Mentality” here or through Amazon.com

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