Few people would deny that morality has changed in the past generation. What our grandparents talked about in hushed tones, our parents generation did with an often troubled conscience, and our generation is doing without even thinking about the consequences of their action. I’ve just been leafing through a file which I have kept containing letters from individuals who have had contact with me over a period of years.
We began broadcasting in 1963. In the 1960s and 70s came letters such as, “I have been unfaithful to my wife. The guilt is destroying me. I have to tell someone.” Another reads, “Just yesterday I revealed the truth to my husband of being unfaithful last fall, a guilt I had long carried.” A third reads, “When I committed my great sin, God forgave me, but I fell again and again thinking each time I would not fail any more. I am so ashamed that I let Satan win so many times.”
I have also noticed that in the late 80s and 90s continuing into the 21st century, those messages filled with guilt and remorse have been few and fewer. Why? Because we are getting more and more moral? I wish that were true, but the fact is that as culture has become more accommodating, our consciences bother us less and less.
Alexander Pope once wrote, “Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,/ as to be hated, needs but to be seen,/ Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,/ we first endure, then pity, then embrace.”
If society says, “It’s OK,” does that really make it OK? Not for a moment. What may be lawful isn’t necessarily moral or right in the sight of God, who is the final judge of what is what is right and wrong.
Your conscience is only as good as your understanding of what is right and wrong. If you shut out the voice of God and ignore His Word, your conscience won’t give you much trouble. That’s why Paul spoke of continued wrongdoing as searing your conscience as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). But the issue of guilt before God remains unchanged no matter how acceptable something may be in the eyes of the world and society.
A final thought. The laws of God were given—not to take the fun and excitement out of life—but to provide the joy and happiness of fulfillment in life. Who is to say what is right or wrong? Society, the school board, the laws of the land? For some 2000 years there has been a witness as to what is right or wrong. It’s called the Bible, consisting of some 39 Old Testament book, and some 27 New Testament book. Read through the this timeless book you will find that culture was usually the barometer that determined whether something was considered right or wrong. In this book you will find some were poligamists, some were unfaithful to their husbands or wives. And you will also read of a period of time when everyone did that which was right in his own eyes!” And calamity followed.
The New Testament is precise and clear! Jesus reasserted the truth first articulated by Moses, “A man is to leave His Father and Mother and they shall be one flesh!” The issue that confronts us today is precisely this: “Do we interpret the Bible in light of our culture or do we interpret our culture in light of the Bible?” When you accept the fact the Bible has not been corrupted and should be a guide for our lives today, you can then trust your conscience. Go with it, and heed its voice.
Resource Reading: Hebrews 9
Text: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23,24
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – September 11, 2017