“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and put sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20
There is a common set of questions that most people will struggle with at some point in their lives. Questions like, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “Where do I go after I die?” Some people spend their whole lives trying to answer these questions, searching for meaning and truth in a variety of places, people and things. The questions, “What is right and what is wrong?” and “Who decides what is right and wrong?” are some of the most debated questions in our culture. The answer to these questions is quite unpopular. Only with God can you know what is right and wrong; and only with God can you tell the difference between the two.
Please understand, I am not saying you have to believe in God in order to believe in what is good and to try and do it. I am not saying you cannot formulate a standard of values that may be good and that people should live by without God. The question is not the fact of goodness. The question is the foundation of goodness.
To say that there is an absolute right and wrong – meaning a right that is always right and a wrong that is always wrong – means that someone with universal authority declares it to be right or wrong. This declaration must be made regardless of what other people think. The opinions of man cannot influence this declaration. Here is an example: We believe the Holocaust was wrong. Adolph Hitler believed he was doing the world a favor by putting Jews in gas ovens. If there is no God, morality becomes just a matter of opinion and of power.
If I can never tell you what is right and you can never tell me what is wrong, then that means there can be no final, ultimate, objective right or wrong. That leaves us to do what is right in our own eyes, like Hitler did. Sometimes our own opinions of what is right and wrong will be right…but many times they will not.
God has already given us what is right and wrong. We do not have to wonder or guess. It is found in His Word. He tells us what we can and should do. He tells us what we cannot and shouldn’t do. While the Bible does not have the answer to every single moral situation, there is more than a lifetime’s worth of truth to be learned and lived out. I am convinced that if we would spend our energy and effort on understanding and obeying what God has revealed in His Word, He is more than capable of taking care of the issues that we might not fully understand.
Application: Are you trying to decide what is right and wrong yourself, or are you looking to God and His Word as your moral compass?