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Three-Legged Stool

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."1

In the grade school I attended as a kid growing up in Australia, there was a motto written over the door of every class room. Some were taken from the Bible such as, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."2

Also, every week students were required to attend the religious instruction class of their choice. One had to have a note from his or her parents NOT to attend. Keep in mind that Australians as a whole are not a religious people, but the secular authorities knew the importance of teaching a high standard of moral ethics. We were also taught that a vital part of character was being honest and keeping our word.

In today's world here in America we have taken the Bible and prayer out of our schools. We are forbidding the use of God's name and anything that is religious (especially Christian) to be displayed in public places, and have carried the separation of church and state to a ridiculous extreme in a nation that was built on a solid Judeo-Christian ethic with the inscription on our coins, "In God we trust." The result? Moral ethics have become irrelevant or non-existent in far too many circles.

Hence such tragic events as the crisis and crash of the major Enron and other businesses.

Chuck Colson quoted theologian Michael Novak who argues that western liberal democracy is like a three-legged stool. One leg, political freedom; the second, economic freedom; the third, moral responsibility. Weaken any leg—the stool topples.

Colson continued, "Enron's [and other business] collapses exposes a decayed third leg—moral responsibility. Now mind you, Enron's leaders were the best and the brightest pillars of the community. Enron's chairman, Kenneth Lay, boasted he hired only graduates of the top business schools.

"What Enron's collapse exposes is the glaring failure of these business schools. Ethics, you see, historically rests on absolute truth, which our top schools have systematically assaulted for several decades. And business school graduates leave the schools, as I discovered when I lectured at Harvard Business School ten years ago, without a clue about ethics."3

And how do we change our world? One person at a time who will stand for integrity, honesty, justice, and a high standard of morality and moral ethics.

Suggested prayer, "Dear God, in a day when moral standards and ethics have already collapsed, please change the world in which I live and let Your work begin in me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Proverbs 14:34 (NIV).
2. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIv)
3. BreakPoint with Chuck Colson, April 15, 2002.


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.