Monday, September 12, 2011

Christian Small compromises - Right from Wrong (part 2 of 4)

If you are expecting a list of what is right and what is wrong, you are going to be disappointed, you going to have to work harder than that.  To truly understand right from wrong you must understand what makes it right or wrong and why. 

By the beginning of this century, over 2800 major corporations were mandating that their employees take training in tolerance.  Almost overnight the person who dares make a moral judgment is an outcast, and is frequently greeted with a remark such as, “What gives you the right to say that?  You’re a bigot.  Who do you think you are?”

The truthfulness of what one says is no longer the issue.  One’s right to speak the truth is jeopardized by “positive tolerance”.  The Bible is not quoted much in public anymore because its content is regarded as bigoted and anti-multiculturalism.  Multiculturalism has also changed.  It is no longer confined to racial issues.  It now is the application of tolerance in such a way that all cultures are equal in belief, values, lifestyle and truth claims.  If you deny this, you are regarded a bigot.  

When all values, truth claims and beliefs are equal, you lose the ability to choose right from wrong.  This is because if all views are equal, then it does not matter which one you choose.  They have no substance and they are inconsequential.  One’s beliefs have nothing to do with the real world of cause and effect.  We see this clearly in the lives of most American Christians today.  Today there is no connection between belief and behavior.  There is a gaping chasm between what Christian’s profess to believe and those same Christian’s behavior.

The idea of an absolute right and wrong is terrifying and does not fit into our tolerant society, and increasingly it does not fit into the churches of America.  Tolerance is easier, and immunity is certainly easier then repentance.

What is right and what is wrong?  In able to make a compromise, you must first know what is right and wrong, however to have an ethical code that distinguishes the difference between right and wrong, you must first know the truth; because ethics cannot operate without truth.

In a recent survey when asked to give the definition of ‘truth’, only 4 out of 7000 Christians could do it.

Now it’s your turn ‘What is truth?’

According to Webster’s Dictionary, Truth is that which conforms to fact or reality.  Or another definition is: “Truth is that which has fidelity to an original.  (faithful to an original reference point)”

There are two models of truth.  

God establishes absolute truth (absolutism) and man determines truth (relativism).  A Christian believes in absolutism.  God’s moral principles are grounded upon His absolute truth.  What is absolute truth?  It is true for all people, in all places, at all times.  It is constant and unchanging.  It has an objective basis outside of self.  God and His Word are an unchanging reference point external to us.  

Right from wrong is nothing less than the revelation of God’s righteous character.  Something is right or wrong because it is true of God.  For example the Bible states in the 10 commandments “You shall not murder?”  The reason is because God is life.  He is the source and giver of life.  The command flows from and is the expression of God’s very Person and nature.  

Thus, it is the character of God that is the basis for discerning right from wrong.  Right and wrong do not change, because God’s character does not change.  God’s commands are not for Him, but for us.  They are for our good.  They are to protect us and to provide for us.  They are the safeguard of love, like an umbrella, if you remove yourself from obedience; you remove yourself from protection and provision.  God’s moral absolutes flow from His love to us.  He is trustworthy and He wants to provide for us and protect us.

The more you know of God’s character, the better you understand right from wrong.  If however you need a cheat sheet might I suggest this as a general guideline.  As a culture, we tend to be an instant gratification society, and by instant I am not talking about in a minute or two, I am talking about right this second.  Like those who live solely in the secular world, Christians today tend to make choices that are based upon immediate return.  However, there is a paradox associated with moral choices: most right choices have immediate “negative” consequences (sacrifice, planning, delayed gratification, self-denial, peer disapproval, etc.) while most wrong choices have immediate “positive” consequences (temporal pleasure, peer acceptance, false sense of freedom, etc.)

Nevertheless, in the long run, there is a total reversal of consequences.  Wrong choices bear more and more bitter fruit and right choices produce ongoing well-being.  The reason for that truth is the character of God.  This is a moral universe ruled by a holy God.  Therefore, the universe is built upon delayed gratification, not indulgence.

The most dangerous person in America now is the Bible-believing Christian who does not flinch from saying there is such a thing as right and wrong for everybody. 

Next Good verses Evil

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