Chloe turned on a television show. Although it was on a children’s network, we knew it didn’t necessarily mean anything.
We’d never seen the show before, and we like to monitor what Chloe and Cole watch.
After a few minutes she asked, “Is it an appropriate show for us to watch?”
We said it was.
A few minutes later, Cole (who was eating lunch) asked, “Is it appropriate for me to have some milk?”
I chuckled at his word choice, knowing it had come from hearing his sister’s question a few minutes before. I told Cole it was appropriate for him to have some milk and went to the kitchen to get him some.
As I poured the milk into his glass, I thought about Emily Post, the go-to person for etiquette. Who put her in charge? Who decided she would be the one to decide what was appropriate behavior and what was not? Did someone appoint her or did she claim the position for herself?
Indeed, who decides what is appropriate, and how, exactly, do they decide it? Is it a group of unknown men and women who form a committee to determine the appropriateness of certain things, but not others? How do they decide these things, and how do we know they are not deciding these things to only benefit themselves in the long run?
The only true judge of what is appropriate or not is our heavenly father. He tells us what is appropriate in his word, the Bible. Within its pages, he sets the standard, tells us what that standard is and tells us we are expected to abide by that standard.
God’s choice for what is appropriate and inappropriate is not for his benefit. I mean, yes, ultimately he will receive the glory if we’re obedient. But appropriateness is determined for our benefit. It isn’t appropriate to sin, because sin separates us from God and harms our spiritual lives.
Culturally, what is appropriate and inappropriate can change from generation to generation and even from year to year. Yet the mandates of God on what is appropriate and inappropriate are timeless. What God called sin 2,000 years ago, he still calls sin today. And he will still call it sin 2,000 years from now.
Thankfully, the death of his son Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago is still “appropriate” for the forgiveness of those sins (Hebrews 13:8).
The Rev. Parrish Myers is a local minister living in Braselton. His column appears biweekly in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.