T.S. Eliot wrote a wonderful play called Murder in the Cathedral about it. In the play four tempters come to Becket ”“ the first offers physical safety, the second riches and fame, the third power. They are all real temptations for us.
But it’s the fourth temptation I want to focus on. In Eliot’s play he put it like this, he puts these words in the mouth of Becket: “The fourth temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right thing for the wrong reason.” This temptation to Beckett is around his legacy ”“ to get what he wants, what he thinks is right, but in the wrong way. We can do the wrong thing for the right reason, and we can do the right thing in such a wrong way that it becomes the wrong thing. Unlike politics, in the church, the ends never justify the means, because the ends are not ours ”“ they are in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the ends never justify the means.
When we look back over Christian history we see this. As Augustine lay dying in Hippo in the early 6th century, a city besieged as the Roman Empire fell around him, was that a moment of disaster? No, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and he raised up Benedict at that very moment and they saved civilisation through the Benedictine monasteries and they kept the gospel alive. And here we are today.
Our view is not the same as God’s. His ways are not our ways. When we put our means to his ends, we lose sight of his ends.
Read it all, another in the long line of should have already been posted material.