God has put within the human heart and mind a sense of right and wrong. We are all born with a conscience. All cultures and communities, have established guidelines/rules of acceptable behavior even though the exact specific laws of the culture may vary. Where do these specific rules and laws come from? Who decides what they will be?
For countries with a Judo-Christian heritage, the standard for the laws of the land is the Biblical values of the Old Testament. The sense of right and wrong within such cultures is defined by what God says is right and wrong. History reveals that this was the intention of America’s founding fathers. Moral absolutes clearly defined moral behavior in the framing of our Constitution and Judicial system. Through the decades and especially since the 1960’s, this has been changing. Rejection of God has resulted in rejection of Biblical standards of right and wrong, replacing moral absolutes with moral relativism and resulting in . . . everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)
For example, in the 1950’s American culture supported Biblical values in public schools and life styles. Culture supported Biblical standards of parenting. Neighborhood moms and dads were free to correct behavior of children who played with their children. Parents were in agreement regarding right and wrong. A Christian parent could get by with less than intentional and active parenting.
This is no longer the case. Since culture no longer supports Biblical values and everyone decides what is right and wrong for themselves, parenting must be intentional. If we do not learn, teach, model, and reinforce Biblical values our children will not learn them. We must intentionally place those values within the mental warehouse of our children. This is the job of a Christian parent.
Children as they begin to make their own decisions, search their mental warehouse to help them know what to do. If the correct information is not there, they won’t be able to retrieve and apply it. They will look for answers from other sources.
We adults also search our mental warehouses. Sometimes the answer is there, but we would rather do what we want. People have told me in counseling, “I know what is right, but I want to do what I want.” I sympathize with their dilemma and remind them that the Apostle Paul faced the same situation. (Romans 7:14-20) Sometimes people end up in counseling ultimately because they are not living according to their conscience. If we continue to live according to what we want rather than what pleases God, the conscience becomes seared and the good values in our moral warehouse go into cold storage. We become cold to God and insensitive to sin.
Godly living as well as healthy relationships requires us to act according to a conscience fully supplied with Biblical values. People who are like-minded regarding the values in their moral warehouse will have important strengths on which to build a healthy relationship. What a blessing and encouragement to find someone who shares our faith and values. We can encourage one another in good works rather than be in conflict due to contrasting values. We all need relationships that support our Biblical values. Our values inform what we think and what we say . . . and how we say it. . Jesus put it this way, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6:45) May everything about our words and actions reflect a heart totally surrendered to God.
Happy 4th of July! Happy Independence Day!