The first is one that I'm sure most all of us heard very recently in regards to the events taking place in Libya. As we all know, little guns, big guns, missiles and airplanes are shooting at people and things are getting blown up right and left. Our government has deemed this to be a "kinetic military action."
If you're wondering exactly what a "kinetic military action" might be you're not alone. Many news broadcasters wondered the same thing and I heard one of them ask a recognized military expert just what that phrase meant. In a very succinct manner, the expert said that a "kinetic military action" meant that a lot of people were engaged in a "gunfight" in that they were shooting at each other. Not being an "expert" mind you, it would seem to me that if there were a lot of people doing this, it's usually called "war." Now I'm neither a politician or an expert, but I have seen several bombing and shooting events that were called "wars" and they looked suspiciously like a "kinetic military action" to me.
Now my second interesting phrase was heard during a presentation by another "expert" trying to explain what the underlying reason was for so many people, statistically speaking, cheating, stealing & etc. when there isn't any reason to believe they'll be caught. That studies show that, percentage-wise, cheating and thievery rise dramatically when there's no possibility of being caught. Here's what the "expert" provided for the reason for this phenomenon: "Moral Disengagement."
Think about that a moment. It's telling us that many people who usually have "morals," who usually do what's right, simply hit the off switch on those morals when they think they can get away with some sort of nefarious activity. Maybe like a transmission in a car - no one looking, I'll just take it out of gear (disengage) and coast for awhile. If no one is watching, why not? And you know what's so sad about this study and its statistics? It's true and has been proven many times over in riot/calamity situations when law enforcement is spread very thin.
Here's the spiritual lesson connected to our two interesting phrases: let's let our speech be plain and simple. Let's let our "yea be yea and our nay be nay." (Matt. 5:37) Let's not try to deceive others by using terms and phrases that cover up the real meaning of what's being said or done. When that is done I see it as being no different than a method used by Satan that Paul describes as "deceivableness." (2Thess. 2:10) When used in a physical sense, the misleading can be physically harmful, but in a spiritual sense, it can be eternally devastating.
You know what God calls "Moral Disengagement"? SIN! He expects, no He commands, that His People, Christians are to be "moral" all the time. Not just when it's convenient.
There's a word used in the Bible that is very appropriate to this thought and that word is "steadfast." Read with me 1Cor. 15:58 and see if its usage by Paul doesn't coincide with our thought of always being "moral." Of always being of a Christian character. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."
I also like the term "steadfastness" that we read in Col. 2:5 where it's talking about being "steadfast" in our "faith in Christ." Here again, it's speaking to the idea of Christians "always" being faithful, or "in the faith." (1Pet. 3:9) In other words, Christians do not "hit the off switch" on either our morals or our faith. They are one in the same, brethren.
Yes, man has always in the past, still does in the present and will do in the future, however long that may last, deceive and mislead others by his words, no matter the form of communication used. And, many will always lay aside their "morals" when they feel it's convenient for them to do so and feel safe in doing it. But Christians are bound by higher standards than the ones set by men and we are to be, morally speaking, "in gear at all times."
As a closing thought, and something I think fitting to our lesson today on "morals" and Christian characteristics and especially in regards to the word "steadfast," please read this little prayer and at the end I'll tell you who prays it.
"O God, our Father, thou Searcher of men's hearts, help us to draw near to thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of thee be natural. Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer." (West Point Cadet Prayer)