Faith and ethics as they are portrayed in the life of Jesus Christ are important to a person wishing to behave in a moral fashion and have deep respect for people. Faith and ethical characteristics of Jesus Christ are worthy to be emulated in our ethical decision making. Distinctive elements of Christian ethic are Jesus Himself whose life was an exposition of the ethics that He taught. He is a true example of moral living. We shall discuss two of the characteristics of the ethics of Jesus, that is, His new concept of love (agape) and the value of the individual person and how they can be incorporated in our own ethical decision-making.
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Under the concept of love, Jesus speaking in Luke 10:25-37, defined love for one’s neighbor as being selfless, unqualified and compassionate towards others (Trull, 1999, 69). In this respect, love should be unconditional and extended to all that are in one’s neighborhood. People should love each other indiscriminately as Jesus did. He loved all people, even those who were regarded as sinners. He extended His love to all. We should therefore treat all people the same way regardless of their status.
The other characteristic of Jesus ethics is ‘the value of the individual person’. He taught that every person is valuable in the eyes of God. No person should be discriminated with respect to their status. Many people were rejected in their villages due to factors like disabilities, sicknesses among other things. Jesus helped and healed all of them as they had needs. Every person should be viewed equally and treated equitably. This will ensure that all people feel respected in the society. They should be held with equal value and none valuable than the other. For a society to live in harmony, all people should not feel disrespected with respect to their status.
These two ethical characteristics of Jesus Christ and others could be very applicable in ethical decision making. For example, the new concept of love will help one to treat every person with equal love without discriminating against them. We should have compassionate to others and selfless so that we can reflect the true love we have for them. We should be ready to share what we have with others instead of being selfish. We should make decisions in life that are not meant for selfish gain but for helping our self and other as well. We should be compassionate to those in need and extend our hands to help them. This will reflect the true love that we have for them. Jesus taught his disciples to be ready to share what they have with each other during the last supper.
The value of individual person is also important in making ethical decisions. It can help one to make decisions that treat others as of equal value. When we are helping people, we should not look at their status, health or any other discrepancy, but we should treat them equally and as they have needs. We should run our societies in such a way that everybody is valued and respected but not discriminated. This will reflect the view and the love that Christ has for people. He helped every one as they had needs irrespective of their status. We should not have rejected people in our societies but we should help each other and treat them equitably. In so doing, we will make our societies better than they are. People will live in harmony, respected and valued by others in the society. This is a true reflection of the life of Jesus Christ.
Trull, J. E. (1999). Walking in the Way: An Introduction to Christian Ethics. Nashville: Broadman & Holman.