There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12, NRSV
HOW DO YOU usually decide whether a certain belief or behavior is right or wrong? Do you:
(a) toss a coin: Heads it’s right, tails it’s wrong?
(b) weigh it carefully, considering whether it feels right?
(c) measure it against what the majority thinks? (If it’s pretty much accepted in your school, church, or community, it’s probably OK.)
(d) none of the above?
If you answered (a), you’ve got a lot of company. Many people today make decisions this way. They may not actually flip a coin, but they don’t lose any sleep over such a decision. They put more thought into what kind of dog food to buy 0l’ Yeller than whether a certain action would be right or wrong.
If you answered (b), you chose an extremely popular model for determining right and wrong. People who choose this usually try to decide what’s right or wrong based on their own opinions or feelings. They’re likely to say, “I think it’s wrong to hurt another person,” or “I feel it’s OK to get mad as long as you have a good reason.”
If you answered (c), you’re with a number of people who make decisions about right and wrong the way you do. They try to decide what’s right or wrong depending on what everyone else is doing. If they see other people cheating or breaking the law, they think it’s OK for them to do it too.
If you answered (d), you’ll probably find yourself in the minority most of the time. But the truth is, we can’t make right choices based on how we feel or on what everyone else is doing. Right and wrong are not determined by an individual’s opinions or feelings or by what the government or society accepts or rejects. Right and wrong are determined by God, who is the original, the universal, the absolute standard for everything that is good and right.
For example, lying is wrong because God is true. Stealing is wrong because God is just. Hatred is wrong because God is love. These things are wrong no matter what you may think or feel. These things are wrong, not because the majority thinks so or because society frowns on them, but because God thinks so.
REFLECT: Proverbs 14:12 says: “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” How might choices (a), (b), and (c) (above) have the same consequence? Think back on how you usually make decisions about whether a belief or behavior is right or wrong. Now think about Proverbs 14:12. To what consequence will your method of deciding lead you?
PRAY: “God, help me consider your desires in every choice I make, especially when it’s hard to do the right thing, like when I have to____________________________.”
– Josh McDowell