Yesterday, I said, “No one has to teach a child to do wrong. They know how to do that. They need to be taught how to do right.” At that two listeners said that no one can tell anyone else what is right or wrong. From the context of our conversation, I knew they were thinking ‘morals’ and rather than get into an argument about that, I thought they would at least agree on a practical level; children need to be taught not to play in traffic. Otherwise they will hurt themselves. That goes for everything else a child will try, even touching a hot stove.
While I know this idea of ‘no objective moral standards’ is common, my heart is grieved. The idea that ‘every person does what is right in their own eyes’ has brought destruction to every society, including ancient Israel. Human beings need objective standards. Without out them, we have anarchy and chaos.
However, the standards are there in the human heart (and the laws of the land), at least in some measure. If one person thinks it is okay to rob banks, or shoot people, or light buildings on fire, why do most of the rest of us protest? It is built into our conscience? The Spirit of God is whispering?
The human heart can shut itself off to that inner voice, but when it does, those who think they can set their own standard could wind up robbing banks, shooting people, and setting buildings on fire.
Some people acknowledge their tendency to sin, to make choices that are not good for themselves, others, or that go against the will of God. Job knew. He asked this:
“For has anyone said to God, ‘I have borne punishment; I will not offend any more; teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?” (Job 34:31–32)
David, the king and psalmist of Israel knew too. He prayed, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)
Tozer writes that he is grateful for the human conscience because without it, we would all quickly become beasts. He urges people to listen to that inner voice and says, “The chief thing is not to listen to yourself, but silently to listen to God.”
Last week a television personality said that talking to God was fine, but those who claim that He talks to them are mentally ill. I assume she was thinking of those who say ‘god’ told them after they did some heinous and violent action. The “god told me” people in the world who excuse their ungodly behavior this way have not learned something very important: if what they hear does not match up with the Word of God given to us in writing, then it is not God. He gave the Bible to us so we can know the difference between what He is telling us and what is coming from our own ideas . . .
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12–13)
God is not a fool. He knows that we need objective truth because without it, we simply do what we please. The sinfulness of the human heart says NO to God. It also says that His Word is false, archaic, full of errors, because it is easier to do whatever we please if no one contradicts us. This is reinforced by others who say it is okay to do it because no one has the right to tell me otherwise. Oh my.
Jesus, my heart is sad. I love those two and a host of others who reject You and what You have to say to guide them. I know from Your Word and from personal experience that the person who hardens their heart becomes increasingly blind to the line between good and evil. Not only that, they become increasingly blind and hard toward the love You offer and the marvel of Your grace of forgiveness and peace. Going their own way seems right to them, but as You say, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) My prayer today is that You will persist and not turn away from speaking to them and to others who have rejected You and gone their own way. I also pray You will give me wisdom and wise responses when they are needed.