Huffman (2006) wrote that “important values are the ones that individuals and a society actually live” (p. 58). Lived knowledge, not just memorized facts, is critical to proper community cohesion. The only values that can be consistently lived in the context of social cohesion are those values which are anchored in Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Therefore, the only consistently liveable values are those values which are anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ.
For example, throughout the New Testament there are a number of “one another” verses. To follow those instructions leads to social cohesion, but to deny the validity of those instructions, and to seek to live contrary to those instructions can only lead to social collapse.
“be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:5). As much as possible, we are to live at peace with one another. It is impossible to live in community if there is no peace. Warring communities experience ongoing violence, bloodshed, disrupted daily life, disrupted sleep, etc. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, and only He can facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation where there has been a sinful act that has scarred the peace of a community. Repentance, forgiveness and cleansing in the blood of Jesus is the only answer to a community that has lost its peace.
“care for one another” (I Corinthians 12:25). Caring for others requires selflessness. Glenda Jackson (20013) in Origin of the Centred Self? teaches that self-centredness arises from making decisions that are based on personal, subjective inclinations, without consideration of the long-term, objective bases for decision-making. If there is no ownership of consequences and consideration of the fact that consequences inevitably flow from acting out personally made decisions, then there can be no genuine care for others. At the apparently inconsequential end of the decision-making process I may feel that it is my right to eat as much chocolate as I want. In my mind, and as far as I am concerned, it harms no one, so it is my right. Well, as I eat more and more chocolate, I get fatter and fatter. My body accumulates acidity and reacts to the high intake of sugar. Eventually my body begins to break down, and I become tired, chronically sick, and I become dependent upon others to take up my share of life responsibilities. I then consume medical attention that is subsidized by people who are working and paying taxes. The Bible commands that we are to enjoy all things in moderation. My subjective decision to eat as much chocolate as I want, puts time, effort and financial strain upon a lot of other people around me. My selfishness puts me in a position where I really have no care for others.
Jesus has dealt with the self life. He died upon the cross, and the Bible teaches that if we believe in Him, then we also died with Him, and have been raised into newness of life. Our self life is dead, and therefore we can live a life that is motivated by care for others, through faith in Jesus, and through the power of His Holy Spirit working in us. We can embrace the commandment of Jesus to care for one another as a gift of grace, rather than as a damper on our personal, self-centred rights.
“have fellowship with one another” (I John 1:7) The Greek word translated fellowship is ‘koinonia’. The word koinonia implies having communion, sharing in common, making a contribution, being in partnership, participating together, making a pecuniary benefaction. In short, koinonia implies sharing life together at many levels, including financially assisting one another. It is the kind of relationship that one would expect within a family. The Bible teaches that those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are born again, regenerated and adopted into the family of God. That family relationship knows nothing of racial, cultural, language or class distinction. Jesus Christ truly has broken down the walls of division. Wherever there are two or three gathered together in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who are committed to loving Him by obeying all that He has commanded, there is the family of God, and there can be enjoyed the deep life-sharing of koinonia. It is not good enough to simply cry, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord” and not live consistently with the commandments of the God who dwells within the temple of the Lord.
The opposite of having fellowship with one another is the dog-eat-dog climate of ‘get from others as much as you can get, without letting anything go from your own stash’: “A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22).
There are many other “one another” commandments in the New Testament (“love one another”, “wash one another’s feet”, “show honour to one another”, “live in harmony with one another”, “encourage one another”, “admonish one another”, etc.). These are the kinds of values that Huffman, I presume, is referring to. He could not be referring to the opposites to these values, because they cannot be consistently lived in a social setting.
All of these values depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ to overcome the sinful tendencies of the unregenerate heart. The Bible claims that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it.” The only solution to such hearts is for the old stony heart to be removed, and a new heart of flesh to be put in its place. Only the Triune God, through the atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, can perform such heart surgery.
These things are not taught in our local state schools. That is why Christian families need to educate their children from a home base. As families the fruits of a changed heart can be modelled for the children, and through this modelling, the children can learn of their own need for divine heart surgery.
Huffman, H. A. (2006). Driving character through policy and practice. School Administrator. 63 (9), pp. 58-59.
Jackson, G. (2013). Origin of the Centred Self? http://www.Xlibris.com.au : Xlibris LLC