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Who Decides Right From Wrong for You?

We live in a confusing world and are faced with complicated issues. What is your basis for deciding right and wrong? What should it be?

Who Decides Right From Wrong for You?
We live in a world that is confusing and challenging. We are faced daily with news about events (many that are violent and horrible) happening all around the world, and often we can only respond: “Well, that’s not right. How could that possibly be allowed to happen?”

Recently, a South Dakota judge ruled that an amendment banning gay marriage in South Dakota was unconstitutional. The basis for this ruling was that same-sex marriage is comparable to interracial marriage. Since the U.S. Supreme Court declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional, the judge reasoned that bans on same-sex marriage are also unconstitutional. The ruling is currently “on hold pending appeal.”

Since the first U.S. same-sex marriage was performed on May 17, 2004, in Massachusetts, the number of states that allow same-sex marriage has grown to 36. It is likely just a matter of time before the U.S. Supreme Court rules that it is unconstitutional for any state to ban same-sex marriage.

Who decides?

But do the courts, lawmakers and voters really have the final say over what is moral? Should you accept same-sex marriage as morally right if your state performs it or if the Supreme Court enforces it on the entire nation?

The ultimate authority in all moral matters is the God who created us. He reveals what is right and wrong in His Word—the Bible.I am going to make a statement that some will find controversial: None of the above—not my state, my nation or my fellow citizens—define morality for me.

And they shouldn’t for you either.

The ultimate authority in all moral matters is the God who created us. He reveals what is right and wrong in His Word—the Bible.

The Bible makes it very clear that homosexuality is outside of God’s design for human beings (Leviticus 18:22). Both the book of Genesis and Jesus Christ taught that God “made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4; Genesis 1:27). God’s purpose for creating two sexes was that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5). This is how God created us to express romantic love and to reproduce.

Any romantic arrangement outside of the male-female marriage union is a deviation from God’s purpose and standard.

The bottom line

The marriage issue is only one example of how God’s Word defines what is moral and immoral. Human beings have a tendency to complicate things, but we should always go back to the Bible to find answers and direction.

Currently we see Europe (France in particular) battling with the fallout from the dreadful massacre of staff of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. Hate speech is a serious issue in Europe—given its past history and current situation. For instance, the Nazi Holocaust drives many of the European laws on hate speech. The growing Muslim population in Europe is also a huge factor. So now many wrestle with how to balance the Western value of freedom of speech with the desire to suppress hate speech. Who defines hate speech? What should happen to those who violate these boundaries? Is the standard just the law of the nation?

Not for a Christian!

The Bible teaches many limits on what is spoken. A Christian makes this his or her standard. Here are some examples of the limits on speech found in the Bible:

  • Colossians 4:6: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt.” That means everything we say should be motivated by love.
  • Titus 3:2: “Speak evil of no one.”
  • 1 Peter 2:17: “Honor the king.”

Mocking and making fun of others (as Charlie Hebdo is known for) is not something a Christian has the freedom to do.

The ultimate moral principle that guides a Christian is found in the Golden Rule given by Jesus Christ: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Applying this principle to every part of our lives will give us the moral guidance we need to determine how to live and treat others. This is God’s standard for how to relate to others.

God’s standards must be our standards

As each day unfolds and news and complex situations are presented to us, we should strive to react based on the eternal moral standards given to us by God. In all situations, our definition of right and wrong should be a carbon copy of God’s definition of right and wrong!

As the psalmist eloquently wrote: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

To learn more about how to make right decisions based on God’s Word, read:

About the Author

Paul Suckling

Paul Suckling

Paul Suckling is a pastor for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He was born in England and now lives in New England. He is happily married to his wife of over 50 years, Jane. They have two children and two grandchildren.

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