“Jason” is a compassionate and sincere man and has been a member of our church from the beginning of the church plant. He first came with his two young children until his wife, who left him for another man, decided to not only ruin their marital relationship, but take his children away from him too. It’s been a very hard time for Jason, yet bolstered by the fact he has had a clear call into ministry, which for many years, he had been avoiding, until now. So when we started our two-year ministry internship at the church, he got excited and signed up.
Things were going well until about two months ago when he reconnected with an old flame from his youth. Sarah is not a Christian, and is also going through her own divorce. Jason has fallen head over heels with his old love, thrilled at being given a second chance with her. To add to it all, Jason has no home, no job and no money but Sarah has all of that. Since reconnecting with Sarah, Jason’s interest in ministry training has changed.
What is the best way to counsel Jason? Should I go down the path of the biblical teaching on adultery? Being unequally yoked with a non-believer? All things are permissible, but not all are beneficial? Just love him through it? This was a broken man two months ago whose wife took everything he had. What would you do?
According to Nullens and Michener, “Christian ethics is so much more than simply following a list of rules that you can check off from day to day. It is careful, hard thinking about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in daily decisions, with ultimate respect for God and others.”  In Jason’s situation, a matrix of choices lie before him. For example, short-term hedonism verses enduring? No doubt I suspect that Jason would have a bit of struggle with Piper’s definition of Christian Hedonism, which states, “The aim of the Christian Hedonist is to be happy in God, to delight in God, to cherish and enjoy His fellowship and favor.”  He could probably better relate to Wendy Corbin Reuschling’s statement, “Singing ‘trust and obey’ is one thing. Exercising trust and discerning the means and purposes of obedience when reading Scripture in all of its intricacy and richness is quite another.” 
Which ethical and moral compass Jason will select in the coming months, I’m just waiting to see. His decisions will not only impact himself, his children, and friends but also the small Christian community he is very much a part of. We do not live in a vacuum and the choices we all make impact those around us for the good or otherwise. I suspect his choices may not bring him any nearer to “participation in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1) that Peter wrote about. After all, Sarah’s weekend job is singing in pubs and each Sunday I watch him struggle to stay awake after the lack of sleep and free whiskeys that accompany her job. It’s heartbreaking.
The discussion of ethics, morals and values is more than mere academics. For people in my church (and every church) it’s life or death; success or failure; prosperity or survival. God incarnate, Jesus Christ, made the bold declaration that He came to give life and life in all its fullness, and yet as humans we are often happy to settle for less. As the Scriptures show, entering into this full life requires time, sacrifice and faith and endurance. Indeed, one cannot separate Christian Ethics from the practice of faith in an unseen God. It’s not a question of reason or knowledge alone. It’s more demanding than that. I suppose that makes Christian Ethics stand out from all the rest.
 Not his real name
 Not her real name
 Patrick Nullens and Ronald T. Michener, The Matrix of Christian Ethics: Integrity Philosophy and Moral Theology in a Postmodern Context (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2010), 20
 Nullens, 71
 Wendy Corbin Reuschling, Reviving Evangelical Ethics: The Promises and Pitfalls of Classic Models of Morality (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2008), 65-66 as quoted by Nullens, 190
 Nullens, 221