“Ought” is a word that conveys moral obligation.
“Ought” lets us know we’re duty-bound.
“Ought” directs us to do the right thing in a given situation.
But here’s the tricky part.
“Ought” is a word that can easily hook us–and really hang us up–if we fail to see what’s behind it.
“Ought” always presents itself as having legitimate authority, but sometimes it’s only a tyrannical impostor.
How can we discover if an “ought” is really a fraud?
We can unmask it through simple interrogation.
Says who? Why?
Our inquiry will reveal someone’s expectation behind the “ought,” and our investigation will uncover the underlying reason for the expectation. By understanding these two things, we can avoid getting caught in someone else’s “ought.”
When should we suspect that an “ought” might be a charlatan?
We’ll find clues by examining it’s character. “Ought” is not really an outside-in word that bullies us. It’s an inside-out word that constrains us. “Ought” isn’t a whip-cracking taskmaster that drives us; it’s an inner compulsion that moves us. “Ought” expresses willing agreement with the heart of God. Doing what we ought is a free expression of the character of God.
When we get caught in another’s demanding “ought,” and then project that oppressive expectation onto God, it grieves His Spirit.
And that is something we ought not do.