Current popular sentiment seems to be that the world would be a more peaceful place if we would all just let everyone do what they want and stay out of each other’s way. Just mind your own business and stay out of mine and we’ll all get along just fine. With a collective denial of any sort of objective truth, people are just left to do whatever they think is right.
It seems like some kind of utopian ideal that would lead to a beautiful world, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it sound like absolute freedom? Given a full head of steam, wouldn’t this idea (to let everyone do what they feel is right) lead to great things? Like respecting each other, and valuing each other’s differences, and celebrating diversity, and lots and lots of positive reinforcement…
If it weren’t for us.
It turns out that the whole “live and let live” mentality is just putting a nice pretty facade on death and destruction. Even when we intend to do what we think or feel is right, we don’t always actually do what we think or feel is right, do we? Honestly?
You don’t. I don’t. Neither does anyone else you know. When we set our own standards, it’s easy to justify violating those standards without any consequences. The entertainment industry has decided to give us an ugly glimpse this year of the double standards we allow for ourselves. The political realm has jumped in with both feet as well, with allegations and statements that would cause the rest of us plebeians to lose our jobs, even if we were lucky enough to stay out of jail. History is littered with heroes with indiscretions we just don’t talk about to avoid knocking them from their shiny pedestals. (Unless of course, they’re from the other party, then we want that crap splashed across every front page we can point to.)
This is not new. I’ve just been reading the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and it’s a disgusting exhibition of how horribly things can turn when everyone does “what’s right in their own eyes.” When you read this bit of Jewish history, don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s the culture God intended. The book is full of people forgetting what God had done for their nation, rejecting His standards, and replacing them with whatever they wanted to do. The results were a mess. Just like they are today.
There’s got to be a better way to live.
Thankfully, one of Jesus’ own brothers has left us with some great wisdom for living a life that’s not just a false veneer on the inevitable death that is coming. [Here at WestWay, we’re digging in to his letter over the next several weeks and I’m excited to see the transformation from death to life. If you’re in the Scottsbluff area, come check it out at 10:15 on Sunday.]
Also check out this overview from The Bible Project.