Richard Weirich

The Boundaries of Right and Wrong, Good and Evil

Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good….

Amos 5:14-15

My son called me a few days ago and told me about an unusual situation that he had encountered. He said that when he had returned to his office, after getting his auto gas tank filled, he noticed that he was only charged $4.00 for 17 gallons of gas. “What do you think I should do?” he asked. Without hesitation I told him that he should make the gas station aware of the mistake and pay the right amount. He said, “I’m one step ahead of you.”

We don’t hear much about “right and wrong” anymore. Some say there is no such thing as moral absolutes. It’s an outmoded concept and no longer valid. Right and wrong are defined by the individual. What I perceive to be right may not be right for you. What you perceive to be wrong may not be wrong for me. You choose what works for you.

Today we are ruled by what feels good as opposed to what is good. Right is defined by that which makes us feel good — not by what is good. You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else.

When there is no right and wrong, there is no conscience. Conscience is that onboard mechanism created by God to help us keep our behavior in check. The absence of conscience removes those uncomfortable feelings of guilt where our mind tells us that we have done something wrong in thought, word, or deed. We don’t want anything that makes us feel bad.

I have heard many parents say their children lack a conscience. No form of punishment or reprimand produces the guilt that results in corrected behavior. Today’s culture has invalidated a strong sense of right and wrong. Moral boundaries have been eradicated.

So what happened? What has caused this shift in the way we determine what is right and wrong?

I believe that answer comes down to where our culture has placed God. We haven’t eliminated God, but we have minimized His role in our lives. We have taken Him off the throne and placed ourselves there. And we approach God with an “I’ll call you when I need you” mentality. Since we define right and wrong, we really only need Him when we are in trouble or want something.

In today’s scripture we see God’s desire for moral boundaries in our lives. “Seek good, not evil… Hate evil, love good…” God never intended for us to be the captain of our own ship making the decisions on what is right and what is wrong. The “good” that we are to “seek” is right and wrong as defined by Him.

Jesus died not only for your sins but also for your guilt. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t experience guilt when you violate His directives. Those feelings of guilt are to be used as a motivator for correcting the wrongful behavior. God gave you guilt to help you….not destroy you.

When you sin ask for His forgiveness. He is faithful to forgive. And remember that nothing removes guilt faster than corrected behavior. If you’ve wronged someone — mend the fence. If you’ve done something that you should not have done — then do what you can to correct it. Put out your fires while they are small and manageable.

Let God set your moral compass. Allow Him to establish the boundaries of right and wrong. “Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.”

For more on this topic, check out this article: With Christian Freedom Comes Responsibility

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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