Article Comment 

Garthia Elena Burnett: A code to live by


Garthia Elena Burnett



The Columbus City Council recently nixed a proposed code of ethics. 


Brought on by an April 1 fist fight between City Councilman Kabir Karriem and Mayor Robert Smith, the code would have duplicated much of the state''s ethics code. 


So the councilmen, on advice from City Attorney Jeff Turnage, forewent writing a local ethics manual. 


Councilman Charlie Box, who proposed the code, said it was about "civility and dignity." 


Though the city''s ethics code is dead, I''d like to propose a code for them -- and us all -- to follow. 


It was written thousands of years ago and continues to be valid today. 


It''s a code, not of an eye for an eye or crime and punishment, but of love. 


And love is against human nature. 


Not the love we feel toward our mother, father and brothers and sisters -- storge, in Greek -- a familial love that comes pretty innately most days. 


Not the love we feel toward our closest friends, who we''d almost anything for - phileo, in Greek -- brotherly love. It just sort of manifests itself over time. And before we know it, we''ve grown a fondness and attachment to each other that''s not easily broken. 


These things come pretty easily. 


Most of the time, we don''t even have to try. 


But true love -- agape love -- is a different story. 


It''s an altruistic love, one that puts you before myself even when you don''t deserve it. It''s unnatural. 


When you hurt me, I want to hurt you back. 


When you steal from me, I want to take it back. 


And when you lose my trust, I never want to offer it back. 


Agape love says, my love for you is unconditional; and whether or not you accept it or return it, I will not mistreat you. 


In writing to the church at Corinth, Paul tells us this about agape love: 




Love is patient. 


Love is kind. 


Love does not envy. 


Love does not boast. 


Love is not puffed up. 


Love does not behave itself unseemly. 


Love is not self-seeking. 


Love is not easily provoked. 


Love thinks no evil. 


Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but in truth. 


And finally ... Love never fails. 




Everyone we have loved, at some point or another has lost their patience with us, been mean to us, been selfish and let us down. 


How we respond is a reflection of our own character and maturity. 


Where would the incident at City Hall have begun or ended had both, or one of, these men shown agape for one another? 


The Golden Rule says to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 


The Platinum Rule says do unto others as they would have you do unto them. 


Either of these would work, in theory, but how I want to be treated is not necessarily how someone else wants to be treated. 


And how they want to be treated might not be acceptable in my book. 


So perhaps we should treat them as the Bible says, without selfishness, without regard for our own personal hurt. 


Sounds absurd. I know. 


Someone asked me last week during a Bible study, "How do you define forgiveness?" 


Forgiveness, to me, is relinquishing your rights -- both your right to be hurt and your right to use the incident as a weapon or bargaining tool in the future. 


It takes a heart that''s not only willing to let go of hurt but open up again, even with the chance of more hurt to come. 


It''s easier said than done -- just like it''s easier to swing a fist in a fit of rage than to live by a code of love. 





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Reader Comments

Article Comment Sarah commented at 5/14/2010 12:33:00 PM:

Very well put Garthia, I agree.


Article Comment um ok commented at 5/14/2010 8:11:00 PM:

am I the only one that thinks she is a terrible writer? Good message and topic, but writing skills need some work.


Article Comment jackie commented at 5/14/2010 8:42:00 PM:

um ok - You got it. We are all tired of reading the crap in the "RAG" paper. Most of us just buy a Jackson paper or a Packet and move on with our life. They give this away in Starkville. I was told that was not going over well. If they get a good writer they don't pay them or censur their writing. I gave up on them a long time ago.


Article Comment June commented at 5/15/2010 12:53:00 AM:

'um ok' aka 'throw insults under the veil of a non-name'....Yes you are in the minority. Maybe you shoul read more. (or less so we're all not exposed to you.) good message AND well written. Thank you.


Article Comment amy commented at 5/15/2010 6:04:00 PM:

I agree with um ok. So do a lot of people!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Article Comment plutten commented at 5/15/2010 7:01:00 PM:

What a drag! How would this "ethics code" be used in the 'Kabir-Robert" shame? Drag something old over this article and forget about it. This kind of rabble is what is causing the problems we have. Clear rules and clear punishment is what is needed, so help me god!


Article Comment NITA KIZER commented at 5/16/2010 1:18:00 AM:



Article Comment jane commented at 5/16/2010 10:21:00 AM:

I also agree with UM OK. Akso with NITA. Nothing is ever done about anything in this Town. Same O same O !


Article Comment A reader commented at 5/17/2010 8:59:00 AM:

jackie, why do you come to comment on stories since you claim to not read the stories? let's get rid of some of these people who post nothing but negative comments. um ok, amy and jane: I'm sure you work at a job that gives you some amount on anonymity. Ms. Burnett doesn't hesitate to put her name on what she writes. You can't even put your name on the ugly and critical comments you throw up. just don't read it if you don't like it, but why be so critical and negative?!


Article Comment NoSir commented at 5/17/2010 1:54:00 PM:

Jackie, maybe you should "censor" (or at least learn to spell check) some of your own comments and quit with the negativity. The article has a good message and a good point that you obviously overlooked when you wrote your nasty little remark.

Columbus is full of spoiled brats. You all complain about EVERYTHING and point out the bad in Columbus, and then poo-poo on the good that people try to do. No wonder no one wants to come in and do anything.


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