There are many ways to tell what is morally correct and what is not. We go about it based on what we were taught and what our parents and teachers believe in, later on developing our own world of ideas and philosophies, making decisions accordingly. In many cases it is easy to tell right from wrong, like for example it is commonly known that it is right to 'stop' at a red light and it is right to 'go' at the green light. We were taught and we just know that it is right to look each way before crossing the street. In other cases we know it is 'the law' to wear our seat belts although not everyone may follow it. The rights and the wrongs that we perceive within our worlds are like either the clear paths we can go through or the stop signs signalling 'do not head in that direction'.
There are different types of Rights vs. Wrongs which guide our decisions:
- The Moral Right vs. Wrong
- The Socially acceptable Right vs. Wrong
- The Legal Right vs. Wrong
- The Personally acceptable Right vs. Wrong
- The Common Sense Right vs. Wrong
- The Intuitive Right vs. Wrong
How do we find out what is Right and what is Wrong? We learn through experience and by discovering the consequences and outcomes, which then help us (hopefully) not to do something if the result is unpleasant or unwanted. We may even get confused at times about what is right or wrong and our understanding and concepts evolve as we ask questions and learn more about life. The interesting thing, I find, is that we all want to be rights about what we consider 'right' and 'wrong' which is why people engage in so many arguments trying to prove that their 'right' is the 'rightest' on any given topic. What's worse is that we try to impose our 'rights' and 'wrongs' on others.
Whatever we believe about the topic, we still somehow in many instances choose to do 'wrong'. The funny thing is that in so many cases as humans we, for some reason, trip over the same rock and go back to repeat the same mistakes. If we take Einstein's definition seriously we can determine that majority of the human population is insane...
This morning I had an interesting conversation with some great minds and as 'iron sharpened iron ' we got to a point in our conversation where we began to examine what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for us as believers and even further - teachers of the Word. It was interesting because what each one of us sees as acceptable and not acceptable is such a personal definition. No matter how personal the question of 'right' vs. 'wrong' may be, I am convinced that there has to be a way to tell, aside from our personal convictions.
Many times young people ask questions such as "Is it ok for a Christian to have tattoos?" or "Why can't I listen to certain music or watch certain shows/movies, it has some occasional cursing or one scene with violence, so what?" or "What's wrong with going to a bar and having one or two drinks with my friends, shouldn't I have a right to choose?". Sometimes these Rights & Wrongs can seem hard to determine with the blurred lines of what is socially acceptable, especially if the Bible does not directly deal with the issue. (That is also implied that the person believes in the Bible being the inerrant Word of God)...These are seemingly complex questions to answer for a lot of believers and this is the same reason why there is such a split even within the Christian church and the body of believers. I ask myself "should it be so if we are reading the same Bible?". Shouldn't we come to the same conclusions about what we believe about living life as God designed it? Why are there so many separations and disagreements? How can we stand as one is we do not agree?
The truth is, the answers are so simple that sometimes we tend to miss it because we over-spiritualize things and intellectualise everything. We want it to sound deep and profound and impressive, so we miss the essence and simplicity of the Gospel. Today there was that 'Aha!' moment when one simple statement made by my brother in the faith, Pastor Nate, resonated with me and brought clarity to a lot of things I was asking discernment on. As we shared our personal takes on what we understood to be acceptable or not, he shared that for him the litmus test for discerning right from wrong comes down to this one simple thing. "It is so simple, that I do not want you to miss it", he said..."for me the question is always - does it bring glory to God?"
That was simple and so true. When we want to do something that is questionable we tend to want to negotiate with God as if asking "How far to the edge can I come before it is considered wrong or sinful?" That is the wrong question. In everything that we think, say or do the question to ask is "Does it bring glory to God?". Imagine if we asked that question as we approached the subjects like the way that we treat our bodies, the way that we treat ourselves and others, the way that we treat our brains with the stuff we expose ourselves to, the way that we date, do marriage and parenting...does it bring glory to God? That is where we ought to start in the way we re-learn to walk and live out our faith, not according to the patterns of the world, but according to the Word - the way God designed it. That would bring Him glory. God's Truth is so simple and beautiful, so clear and yet so profound. Desiring to bring Him glory is what's lacking in the body of Christ...and that is what the unbelieving world finds so unbelievable.
Sharing moments like these with people who love God and share the same desire to learn how to bring Him glory is priceless. Today was that day...