And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 15:34, NKJV).
I recently saw this quote from Mother Teresa: “The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.”
The opposite of good is bad; the opposite of right is wrong. The very existence of such words declares the existence of absolutes, despite the fact that we live in a society that has rejected absolutes in favor of situational ethics. And that’s a very dangerous thing.
With absolutes, good and right are clearly defined and unchangeable; with situational ethics, good and right vary with circumstances, emotions, or fads. With absolutes, we know exactly what is bad or wrong; with situational ethics, bad or wrong depends on constantly changing variables that may or may not hold from one day to the next.
In an attempt to justify what God calls “wrong” or “bad” behavior, modern society has taken the transition from absolutes to situational ethics even farther: now if we label anything as bad or wrong (whether using God’s perfect standards or our imperfect ones) we are considered judgmental. Even some Christians have fallen for this and are therefore afraid to declare God’s Word about various subjects.
And that, of course, is the problem. If we try to define good or right, bad or wrong, by our own personal standards, then yes, we are most certainly guilty of judging. But if we put aside our personal opinions and feelings and judge ONLY by what God has to say, then we are courageously taking a stand for God’s absolute Truth.
Mother Teresa could encourage people to “do good” because her criteria for judging which acts fell into the “good” category were based on God’s definition of the word. Second Kings 15:34 is just one of many places in the Book of Second Kings that declares people’s actions as “good” or “evil” by saying they were done “in the sight of the LORD.” That means more than God observing what they did; it means He saw what they did and, according to His absolute standards, declared those actions “good” or “evil.”
God’s standards do not change. His Truth is absolute. Though His love for us is unconditional and never-ending, His Word is always the same. If He declares something “good” or “right,” then so it is. If He declares something “bad” or “evil,” then we dare not attempt to justify it by applying situational ethics.
Does that sound rigid? Perhaps it is. But it is also right. And we can rest in the inherent goodness of God’s unchanging standards and truth. So in the words of Mother Teresa, regardless of whether anyone appreciates or remembers, “do good anyway.”