As I said, our culture’s conclusions on morality flow naturally from its conclusions about authority and truth. If there is nothing above us, morality is up for grabs. Morality is a matter of personal choice. Our culture has adopted this view of morality on such a deep level it has even affected the meanings of words. Tolerance has come to mean “accepting me as I am and condoning my choices.” Tolerance no longer leaves room for disagreement; if you think someone’s choices are wrong you are being intolerant. It is implied now that right means “right for me.” The idea of “right” no longer carries exclusivity with it. You and I can both be “right” even if we are talking about mutually exclusive things. The word judgment has become synonymous with condemnation, something which our culture hates. There is no longer a sense that judgment means “determining right from wrong,” but now the word only has a negative meaning. When the subtle shifts in the meaning of the words are complete half the battle is lost.
Look at what is taboo and politically incorrect in our culture: asserting that one way is true over another. This should be an alarming thing! This means that I can do whatever seems right to me no matter how destructive it is and the thing that ruffles more feathers is someone else saying to me “you are wrong and you need to change”. Such a statement is seen as arrogant, narrow-minded, and offensive, especially when it is a Christian speaking. The frightening thing about this should be that when the Bible speaks of people lost in the deepest wickedness the phrase that comes up over and over is “and each one did what seemed right in his own eyes.” The Bible doesn’t reserve this statement for utopias of harmony and love, but for a culture which is poised to devour itself. The Bible says that human soul is such that unrestrained freedom in the area of morality always ends in immorality which, in turn, always ends in destruction, but our culture has raised this phrase up above us and waved it above us like a banner.
Our culture needs truth in the area of morality; it needs God-given standards of right and wrong. God did not throw darts at a board labeled “human behavior” to decide on what sin was. Right and wrong are not arbitrary. Righteousness leads to flourishing. Sin destroys whatever it touches. God’s commandments are good, and we were made for them. Only in holiness do we find our joy. The role of the Christian in a culture such as ours is to hold out truth in the area of morals in the way we speak and in the way we act.
We must not fall into the traps of our culture in the way it uses language. Our culture says that it is not possible to judge without condemnation or label anything “wrong” without ugliness. However, Christians should be both more loving in their interactions with people they disagree with as well as better able to judge rightly what is true and false in their lives. We ought to live in such a way that makes the Biblical world view in the area of morality attractive to those who do not share it. What a wonderful thing if those on the outside could look at Christians and say “I do not share their morals, but they have treated me with such kindness and respect that I feel a great affection for them nonetheless.” Woefully, when people speak of Christian morality it is often the opposite of that statement.
It is a difficult thing to be both more loving and a truer judge, not compromising on the call to hold both grace and truth out to our world. Yet, that is exactly what we see in the life of Jesus, and that is exactly the calling which is before us. If the Christian capitulates to the cultures views on morality in order to reduce the tension of disagreement he unfaithful to the gospel. Our role is nil, and society is the worse for it. Instead, if the Christian lives as Jesus did there will be flourishing, as we show what it means to live under the Lordship of Christ in a fallen, morally confused world.
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