Interview 1: What’s right and what’s wrong is the, you know, golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto to you”
Interview 2: What is best for the common good rather than for the individual, so I think that’s how we always weigh it”
Interview 3: And at some point ok, I decided this is not a sin, because I decided it’s not
Brother Barry Thompson: Hello and welcome to Face the Truth, a program brought to you by the Church Of Christ. I am brother Barry Thompson.
Today, we’re asking the question that many have been asking for centuries – “just because something is legal, does it make it right or moral?” – or in other words, who has the right to determine what is right and what is wrong? And how do people come to their opinions about legality and morality or determine what’s right or wrong?
Now today, many are influenced by surveys. They turn to surveys when trying to decide who to vote for. They look at all kinds of rating systems when it comes to deciding what to eat or what to buy. Now before going out they have to know how many stars a place has, or how many people liked it. Now polls direct our decisions, sometimes it even shapes what people should believe in when it comes to religion or morality. Well what do people usually consider when making decisions in life? Well this was stated in the book of Exodus chapter 23 and the verse is 2:
“Do not be moved to do wrong by the general opinion, or give the support of your words to a wrong decision:”
[Exodus 23:2 TBBE]
Now, when determining right or wrong people are generally influenced by numbers. Now when a majority believe something, it’s easier for others to accept that belief as being right or moral. But the Bible says otherwise – we should not be moved or persuaded to do what is wrong just because it is the general opinion. Now when we come back we’ll see how this mentality has closed peoples’ minds to the truth and have deceived many about the true nature of right and wrong. Stay with us.
God’s Laws versus the Laws of Man: Deciding What to Follow
Welcome back to Face the Truth. Today, we’re facing the truth about legality and morality. Now we learned from the Holy Scriptures that we should not be moved to do wrong by the general opinion. Now just because a majority believes that something is right does not mean it’s right. But does this mean that we should respect the law of the land, or what is legal? So what should man follow? Let’s go to the book of Matthew chapter 22 the verses are 17 to 21 this is stated:
So tell us what you think. Is it right to pay taxes to the emperor or not?” Jesus recognized their evil plan, so he asked, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites? Show me a coin used to pay taxes.” They brought him a coin. He said to them, “Whose face and name is this?” They replied, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Very well, give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and give God what belongs to God.”
[Matthew 22:17-21 GWT]
Now at this instance, our Lord Jesus Christ was asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not. Our Lord Jesus Christ answered, “give the emperor what belongs to the emperor and give God what belongs to God.” So what did our Lord Jesus Christ mean in this instance? He means that we need to follow and respect the law of the land. But what if there is a contradiction? What if the emperor, or the government for that, permits something, but God says no to it? What are we to do? Well the Apostles explain to us here in the book of Acts the chapter is 5 and the verse is 29, the Apostle said this:
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
[Acts 5:29 NKJV]
Now when we must make a choice between what God deems right or wrong versus what man considers right or wrong the Apostles tells us, “we must obey God rather than men.” Well why choose God’s ways over man’s ways and thoughts? Let’s read the book of Isaiah 55 the verses are 8 and 9 again the answer of the Holy Scriptures:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
[Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV]
God’s ways and thoughts are higher than man’s. Now we as human beings could never out-reason or out-think God. And definitely, we could not be more righteous than the Lord God. In truth, we have very limited knowledge about life – period. Now many times what we think is right is actually harmful to us. In fact, this was actually stated in the book of Proverbs chapter 14 and the verse is 12 this is written:
Some people think they are doing what’s right. But what they are doing will really kill them.
[Proverbs 14:12 NCV]
Now what people may think is right or moral may turnout wrong, and at times, may even lead to death. Now God is the one to consult on what is right from what is wrong. Now how can we consult God? How can we find out what God tells us to be right or to be wrong? Let’s read from the book of II Timothy the chapter is 3 the verses are 15 through 17 the Apostles, again, give us the answer:
remember how you have known from childhood the sacred writings that can impart saving wisdom by faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for amendment, and for moral discipline, to make the man of God proficient and equip him for good work of every kind.
[II Timothy 3:15-17 Moffatt version]
Now where can we find God’s words? Well they are written in the Bible. Therefore the Holy Scriptures is what we should follow or consult when determining what is right and what is wrong. Now what’s one practice, for example, that the majority accept as something right and has already been legalized? Let’s take a look at this:
[Video from mojo.com – Top 10 Celebrity Divorces]
Actress: I think having a fight, an out-and-out, outrageous, ridiculous fight is one of the greatest exercises in marital togetherness.
News Anchor:… Katie Holmes apparently moved out the same day she filed for divorce from Tom Cruise.
Divorce Court voiceover: In today’s session of Divorce Court – after six years of marriage Kimberly Alexander is divorcing Nick Alexander
Mojo.com voiceover: Welcome to watchmojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks from the top 10 most notable celebrity divorces.
Kim Kardashian: Chris and I are meant to be here, we’re meant to be married and be husband and wife.
Mojo.com voiceover: Kicking-off our list is the shortest celebrity marriage to make the cut.
Divorce Court voiceover: When Divorce Court continues. Judge Toler rules in the case of Charles and Sarah Shropshire.
Brother Barry: Now Americans for divorce reform estimate that about 50% of all marriages in America end in divorce.
45 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. 60 to 70 percent of second marriages end in divorce.
And internationally divorce rates are rising. Now we should bear in mind that the standard of morality is the word of God written in the Holy Scriptures. Now what does God himself say about divorce? This is written in the book of Malachi the chapter is 2 and the verse is 16, the very words of God:
“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel.
[Malachi 2:16 NLT]
Notice that God hates divorce. So for man divorce is ok. It’s internationally accepted as right because the majority and the law agree. However, God says, “I hate divorce.” For God divorce is wrong. Now if we take a look at the effects of divorce, it’s easy to see that God is right. What are the bad results of divorce? Let’s take a look at this:
[Video from YouTube.com]
TV Host: Alrighty, next up this morning, with at least half of all American marriages ending in divorce more than 1 million children each year are left to cope with the breakup of their family.
[Video from Twin Cities Public Television]
TV Host: Does anybody want to say anything about that? About their own family and about the divorce…
Child 1: Well, I mean, the biggest part is that your parents aren’t together anymore. That’s the biggest part and that’s the most basic.
Child 2: The first night I heard about it, it almost scared me. For 2 and a half years I cried before I went to sleep – my dad would put me to sleep and then I would start crying.
Child 1: It’s kind of like a nightmare.
TV Host: It’s kind of like a nightmare, you’re right…
Brother Barry: What are the negative effects of divorce? Well, broken families, and homes. Physical and mental well-being of both the man and the woman. Some studies even show that divorced men and women are more likely to die prematurely. Let’s not forget the toll it takes on the children. Now in truth the negative effects are too many to mention. The sad stories are endless. So this is just one example of why we should obey God rather than man when it comes to determining what is morally right or wrong, or legal versus illegal. Now when we come back we’ll take a look at another example of this. Please don’t go away.
Choosing Between Right and Wrong
Welcome back to Face The Truth. Today we’re facing the truth about morality and legality, and comparing what man thinks is right and wrong versus what God says is right and wrong. And when faced with choosing between the two, which should we choose?
Now drinking alcohol is socially acceptable. It’s not considered morally wrong. People getting drunk or intoxicated is an everyday occurrence. Now just take a look at how many pubs or bars exist today. Now people generally go to bars and pubs to drink and socialize, drinking is well tolerated by society with, of course, certain limitations, yet the results of drinking and intoxication are not positive. It doesn’t make life any better on earth for anyone except maybe those who profit from the sale of alcohol or the owners of bars and other related businesses. But for the end user or the one who drinks, and society as a whole, what is the result of drinking? Well let’s look at what the Lord God says about drinking. In Isaiah chapter 5, the verse is 22 this is what the word of God says to us.
What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
[Isaiah 5:22 NLT]
And so according to the word of God there is sorrow for those who are fond of drinking. Now why is drinking so wrong? What are the results of becoming intoxicated? Does it do anyone any good? In the book of Proverbs the chapter is 23, the verses are 29 to 35, we’ll read what is stated:
Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it does down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”
[Proverbs 3:29-35 NLT]
Now what are the results, the negative results of drinking alcohol? Or even taking prohibited drugs, which result in intoxication? Nothing good. And everything bad that we’ve read: fighting, bruises, arguments… and we know, too often, even death. Now let’s take a look at what the World Health Organization says about alcohol and its negative effects.
[Interviews about “Bad Drunken Mistakes” from YouTube.com]
Interview 1: …being sick. A lot…
Interview 2: Probably being spiked…
Interview 3/person 1: Not being able to get home…
Interview 3/person 2: Not remembering what you’ve done…
Interview 3/person 1: Yeeaaa! Not even knowing where you are.
Interview 4: It’s got to be falling down a flight of stairs.
Interview 5: I’ve been hospitalized for being too drunk. So I’m not too proud of that.
Interview 6: I just don’t like the experience. I don’t like seeing other people drunk so I don’t really drink, myself.
[On-screen text/ video from World Health Organization – www.who.int/mediacentre.factsheets]
The harmful use of alcohol results in 2.5 million deaths each year.
[Afraid to Drink, Afraid Not to Drink – YouTube.com]
Voiceover: I started drinking on a daily basis when I was about 14 years old. I had drank alcohol a few times before that. But I started drinking every day in the 9th grade of high school. I was so afraid to drink anymore because I was having blackouts during the day.
[Drunk Driving Confession – YouTube.com]
Matthew Cordle: My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession. I beg you, and I say the word “beg” specifically, I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive. Don’t make the same excuses that I did. Don’t say, “it’s only a few miles” or “you’ve only had a few beers” or “you do it all the time, it’ll never happen to you”, because it happened to me. And all of those are just excuses to make yourself feel better.
Brother Barry: Now these facts speak for themselves. The overwhelming social problem of drinking and drunkenness, which results in so many disastrous consequences could easily be solved if people would just follow this – what is written in the book of Ephesians the chapter is 5 and the verse is 18, the Apostles say this:
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
[Ephesians 5:18 NKJV]
The verse itself is self-explanatory, “do not be drunk with wine” or whatever makes people intoxicated. And so, just because something may be socially acceptable, or morally right in man’s eyes like drinking, though it’s even legal, does not make it right in God’s eyes. And we have to remember, we must remember man’s limitations on knowing what is truly good and what is truly right. Now we may think we know what is right, or think we know what is good for but it can harm us, even lead to death. And sadly, the world is not changing for the better. You know, there are things that are acceptable today that were not allowed a few decades ago. Things that many consider morally wrong then are, today, considered right and acceptable. Certain lifestyles that were reprehensible in time past, are now considered the social norm. Likewise things that were considered good in the past are now deemed bad by society. And with these changes in the attitudes and thinking of the people the laws are also changing to reflect the attitude of the people. But is this the right thing? Is this the way that people should go? Where do we draw the line? Because given enough time, things considered immoral today can become the norm tomorrow. Now can we change with the passage of time or follow the crowd when what people are doing, though justified by society, run in opposition with what God deems is good? Well let’s read what is stated here in the book of Isaiah, the chapter is 5 and the verse is 20 this is written:
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 sweet for bitter!
[Isaiah 5:20 NIV]
Now the word used by the Bible to state the condition of those who call evil good, and good evil is woe. Now in the God’s Word translation, it states that it will be “horrible” – how horrible it will be for those who call evil good, and good evil – And so when people or society changes what is good to bad, or what is bad to good there are horrible consequences. Which leads us to this question, what exactly is good? If man cannot determine what is good, what is the ultimate good? Romans 7 and 12 we will read the answer given to use by the Apostles:
Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
[Romans 7:12 NKJV]
Take note, God’s commandments are holy, just, and good. And so God’s laws supersede all other laws of man. When man deviates from what God commands there are negative consequences, which were proven in the examples we gave earlier. And so just because something is legal, or has been decided on by a majority to be ok does not make it right. Our gauge of what is right should always be based upon the commandments of God written in the Bible.
And so the truth may be painful at first, but whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, the truth is something we all must face. Thanks for joining us on Face The Truth, I’m brother Barry Thompson, until next time take care and God bless.