I had the crazy idea of putting together a Christian manifesto based on, of all things, the virtues Christ himself told us to live by.
Specifically, these virtues come from The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). I’ve deliberately rephrased the teachings in hopes of ridding the virtues from ambiguous theological baggage that’s become attached to the familiar words.
These are the 12 virtues of godly kings:
Virtue #1: Unity
We resolve our conflicts with fellow Christians. Even if that means letting our side go. Maintaining unity is more important than being right.
(Note: This does not mean Christians can’t have differences of opinions. But at the end of the day, we must at least “agree to disagree” and figure out how to carry on with the mission together. Also, this doesn’t mean a husband relinquishes his right and duty to headship in order to “submit” to his wife. Rather, he should take care to listen to and attempt to alleviate his wife’s concerns before moving forward with a necessary decision.)
Virtue #2: Marital Boundaries
We do not scheme to seduce another man’s wife. If a man should become obsessed with another man’s wife, it’s better to remove all possible contact with her than to risk being cast into hell.
Virtue #3: Married for Life
We do not divorce our wives, no matter how unpleasant she may be. We continue to provide for her and attempt to mould her into something beautiful.
Note: Promiscuity on the wife’s part is the only possible exception to this rule.
Virtue #4: Freedom to Serve God Alone
We do not make formal promises to the institutional church about what we will or will not do in the future. A simple “yes” or “no” in the moment is sufficient.
Virtue #5: Non-Resistant Warfare
When our enemy uses force against us, we willingly comply and even go “the extra mile.” In so doing, we “heap burning coals on their heads.”
Virtue #6: Loving Enemies
We willingly provide for the needs of those who are hostile towards us. We even pray for their repentance and salvation. Just as God sends the sun and rain upon the wicked as well as the righteous, so do we show no partiality in showing kindness. This is the most advanced virtue that makes us fully mature.
(NOTE: This is a personal ethic, not a political requirement of “open borders” or “globalization.”)
Virtue #7: Private Virtue
We do not virtue signal. Rather than publicly expressing our opinions in order to demonstrate our good character, we demonstrate our character to God by what we give and pray in secret.
Virtue #8: Kingdom First
We do not make retirement our life goal. We do not know when we will die or whether our earthly wealth will last. Therefore, accumulating wealth in hopes of future financial security is foolish. Instead, we seek to convert earthly wealth into Kingdom assets as quickly as possible.
(NOTE: This does not mean it is wrong to make, save, or invest money. It simply means we should manage our money in a way to maximize our Kingdom impact in the short time we have, understanding that God will provide for our physical needs when we prioritize His Kingdom. As a rule of thumb, assume you’ll live 70 years. How can you maximize your impact for God’s kingdom? Not by slaving your life away and saving all your money until 65!)
Virtue #9: The Rule of Mercy
When we hear of another’s plight, we choose to show mercy over condemnation. Mercy asks “what do they need?” Condemnation says “they deserve it!” Even when correction is what’s needed, we should be careful that we do not preach what we don’t practice, knowing that God will judge us by the same standard we judge others.
(NOTE: Showing mercy does not mean we automatically give money to any stranger or organization that asks. It is foolish to hand out money without first understanding the situation and getting to know the person asking for the money. If in doubt, it’s better to offer to provide the need directly rather than hand over money. Unsolicited offers from non-profits can safely be ignored.)
Virtue #10: Ask, Seek, Knock
We do not remain passive. We ask God to bless us and enlarge our dominion. We seek the wisdom and opportunities needed to expand our corner of the Kingdom. When we see an opportunity, we take action. We then use our blessings to bless others as we have been blessed.
Virtue #11: The Narrow Path
We do not follow “churchianity” or any other form of mainstream spirituality. We seek the narrow path of truth, however unpopular or unflattering that truth may be.
Virtue #12: Hatred for False Teachings
We give full attention to avoiding and even exposing those who, under the guise of being a Christian teacher or prophet, give false impressions about God’s Word. We recognize these false teachers by their “fruits” (i.e. tangible evidence of what they believe.)
The man who does these things and teaches others to do the same will be a bright light in the world indeed. He will be worthy of an everlasting dominion.
NOTE: These 12 virtues form the foundation for a Tumblr blog I started for my wife. It’s part of a larger experiment of mine to both replace my wife’s Facebook addiction and use social media and “infotainment” to teach biblical truths. Follow along if you’d like. You might get some ideas 🙂