THE “RIGHT” THING ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT

Saturday, August 29, 2015


“When Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.” (Mk 6: 22-28)

This is a story of two people, Herod and his stepdaughter Herodias, doing the “right” thing, according to the moral and political correctness of their circumstances. Herod, on the one hand, has sworn very publicly to the young woman to grant whatever she wishes. So then, although the king is “deeply grieved” by her request, he feels obliged to grant it “out of regard for his oaths and for the guests.” He would lose face both in front of his political subjects and his family, were he to go back on his word. His stepdaughter, on the other hand, acts out of her unhealthy dependency on her insane mother: She runs to ask her mother what to ask for, and then eagerly “rushes back” to ask for the head of John the Baptist. In her eagerness to please her mother, the young woman even throws in the chilling detail, “on a platter.” And yet this young woman, in a sense, is doing the “right” thing, according to a daughter’s obedience to her mother.

But the “right” thing to do, in the eyes of society and family, is not always the right thing to do. Because the truth of God’s Kingdom is not always evident or popular, neither to our society or our family. There might be commitments or relationships that we entered, for example, before we embraced faith, or when we were ill-advised or simply unwise, - which God is now leading us to drop.

Today I pray for guidance, in His Spirit, to discern between what is truly right in His eyes, and what is just “the right thing to do,” to please other people. I pray for the freedom to do His will, and to have the eyes to see His truth, because it is His truth that sets me free.

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