What do Marriage at First Sight And Australian Cricket have in common?

When cheating occurred, the general public made their position very clear; “It’s un-Australian!”

I shared with students that doing the right thing (i.e. that is good) matters, regardless of who is looking, or not looking. It matters to each of us personally, to our friends, to our family, our community, and most importantly to God. It reminds me of a book by Bill Hybels called ‘Who are you when no-one is looking?’

More recently I have been re-familiarising myself with Aristotle. In his day (300 years before Christ), he was a key thinker in issues like happiness and ethics. Aristotle’s thoughts have been a major influencing presence in western culture. For example, most schools (and organisations) will have a set of values that they communicate as having guiding influence on how things are being done. This is true for us too. Our values (character attributes) include; faithful, respectful, determined, loving, honest, wise, innovative, collaborative, team-minded and thankful. Leadership is also in the mix.

These guiding values are largely derived from Aristotle’s early thinking about character and virtues. Aristotle is to the western world what Confucius is to China; a common point of reference for philosophical thinking. Aristotle was particularly interested in ‘happiness’ i.e. what makes you feel good, as opposed to what makes you feel bad. His attention to virtues behaviour that reflects high moral standards) helped create a fuller picture in his day (300BC) into what a ‘good life’ looked like.

When thinking about this, I formed an opinion that it can take courage to cause harm; to another person, to the environment, and/or to an institution like cricket. Objectively, there is a plausible rational that suggests Cameron Bancroft had to exercise ‘courage’ to deceptively sandpaper the cricket ball in Australia’s Test against South Africa. Exposed, the international community declared cheating i.e. hiding the truth from what actually happened. The common person instinctively recognised this is not good.

Virtues without a moral compass are inadequate. The Bible can be relied upon to provide guidance. Examples from scripture follow:

‘For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.’ (Luke 18:7)

‘A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.’ (Prov 11:1)

‘Therefore put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.’ (Eph 4:25)

‘However conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.’ (Prov 28:13)

This last scripture was arguably very evident after Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft expressed their sincere remorse with an authentic, heartfelt apology.

We are a proud community, especially in relationship to our sporting interests.

This was never so evident when Australian cricket legend ‘Gilly’ (Adam Gilchrist) walked during a game against Sri Lanka. For those not familiar with the game. He hit the ball into the air, and it was caught. Ordinarily, an umpire would give this ‘out’. He didn’t. Gilly’s moral compass kicked in and he walked off the pitch, even though the umpire didn’t see Gilly’s error.

The international and local press that followed could be summarised as: ‘Doing the right thing (i.e. that is good) matters, regardless of who is looking, or not looking. It matters to yourself, your friends, your community and it matters to God.

At South Coast Baptist College, we believe we are made in the image of God and that all of us consequently have the capacity to sense when something is not right.

Our moral compass is based upon the understanding that we can rely upon a ‘Jesus-test’. Knowing how much we are loved, when issues arise, how would Jesus respond?

Blessings to you and your family for the holidays.

Des Mitchell