In those days there was no king in Israel;
everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).
I recently heard a U.S. Senator try to explain why he had changed his mind on a major moral and legal issue of the day. He had previously taken a consistent stand on one side of the issue, but suddenly, after learning of his grown son’s lifestyle, the Senator announced that he had changed his views in order to support his son.
Being a parent who deeply loves my children and wants to support them, I can understand where this man is coming from; I don’t, however, support or agree with his decision.
Though legal issues can be (and often are) swayed by popular opinion or emotional influence, moral issues cannot. God is the only Author of true morality, the One who declares right from wrong, and He sets an absolute standard to which we must adhere. Of course, God has given us free will to choose our own way, rather than His, but there is always a price to pay for doing so.
Case in point is the Israelites of old. God had chosen and blessed them, and even sent Moses to rescue them when they were in captivity. Many times throughout those years the Israelites had witnessed God’s power and favor on their behalf. And yet, after both Moses and his successor, Joshua, died and the people found themselves without a strong leader, they quickly abandoned God’s absolute moral standards and set up their own, each one doing “what was right in his own eyes.” The result was chaos and multiplied problems and tragedies.
Sound familiar? I believe that’s where America is today—and many other countries as well. We have abandoned God’s absolute moral standards and replaced them with our own relative ones. “If it feels good, do it”—regardless of consequences or who we offend along the way. “The ends justify the means”—no matter how many people’s feelings or rights we trample to get to our desired goal. “Intolerance is the worst sin”—even if that means we spit in God’s face and call right wrong, and wrong right.
That Senator may very well be sincere and well-meaning in his decision to change his point of view on this particular issue, but in doing so he has made a clear statement on his character: We can’t trust his stand on this issue or any other because they are quite obviously personal, relativity-based stands rather than God-based, absolute ones. Therefore, his vote will always be up for grabs, depending on which way the wind is blowing.
Now before you think I’m singling this man out to beat him up for his wish-washy beliefs, let me stress that I am speaking from personal experience when I tell you that every decision I’ve made in life that was based on personal whim or popular opinion has brought me regret. Those decisions I made based on God’s absolute standards, though possibly causing me to walk through some tough times as a result, have never ended in regret but rather in joy that I have remained true to my Lord.
Those of you who know me have probably heard me say this at some time or other, but I believe it bears repeating: If what we say we believe doesn’t govern our life-decisions, then perhaps we don’t really believe it.
Beloved, we dare not abandon God’s absolutes and resort to doing what’s right in our own eyes. People who need to see God’s Truth in action are watching us. May we be found faithful to hold to God’s holy and unchangeable standards, regardless of hardship or consequences!