Deep in our heart we know whether something is right or wrong. This has nothing to do with the country or culture we live in. All over the world it is wrong to kill another human being. And nowhere in the world is stealing someone else’s possessions thought to be acceptable.
Animals do not have these moral values. When one animal kills another, it does so because it is hungry or because it is being attacked. Animals also do not lie to each other.
Human beings know that certain things are right or wrong. We also call each other to account. In serious cases, we turn to a judge. An honest judge will pass judgment on the basis of the law. He will punish the guilty to compensate for the harm the victim suffered.
The supreme court
The Creator is the One who has determined what is good and evil. We have seen that God is reliable because He made the unchanging laws of nature. What is true about His laws of nature, is also true about His moral laws. They remain unchanged in every situation and circumstance. If that were not so, it would be impossible to trust Him.
If the moral laws are broken, a reaction must follow. In case of a major offence, a judge is asked to determine the penalty. If someone is murdered, for example, family and friends demand that justice be done. The killer must be punished. If a judge lets the murderer go free without punishment, friends and family would never accept it.
God made the moral laws. If we break those laws, God must take action. Because He is the highest authority, He must act when we break His laws. God must be just for us to be able to trust Him.
But people break His moral laws day after day. We just saw that offenders must be punished, whether the crime is murder or something else.
But people are breaking His moral laws all day long. Violators must be punished. Whether it be murder or any other offence. But God does not act as soon as an offence is committed. Later we will try to discover the reason for this.
Respect for our Creator
Must God react to every mistake we make? It seems obvious that God cannot just ignore when one of His creatures is murdered. But God is also a loving God. Couldn’t He just ignore or forgive our smaller mistakes?
An example: what would happen if you hit me in the face? I would probably be angry with you and hit you back. Then my honour would be restored and we may make up again. But what if you hit your boss in the face at work? You would probably be fired. And what would happen if you hit a king in the face? You would be arrested and have to spend time in prison.
Why is a different punishment given for the same ‘minor’ offence? It depends who is insulted.
Try to imagine the consequences if you insult the Creator. You cannot hit Him in the face, but you will offend Him by breaking His moral rules. Every offence you commit, minor or major, demands a reaction. The honour of the Creator must be restored. He cannot ignore His rules being broken. He would lose His respect and become unreliable.
The most important choice in your life is what priority you will give to the Creator. Is He the most important person in your life? Are you willing to find out His purpose for you? Or would you rather decide for yourself how to live your life? Or perhaps you let other people decide what is important?
If you ignore God, you insult and grieve Him. Just as the child that pretends its father or mother does not exist and does whatever he likes.
Where do you stand?
Have a moment to take an honest look at yourself. Can the Creator be proud of you? Are you aware of His presence and do you always respect Him? Or do you keep certain areas of your life hidden from Him? How do you show your appreciation for your Creator? Do you long to know why He made you? Do you want to know His purpose for your life?
God wants your heartfelt attention. This does not mean that you follow a list of rules or agreements. He wants your attention, straight from the heart.
Take an honest look at yourself. Do you give God the attention and respect He deserves as your Creator? May God know everything you do? Or are there certain areas in your life you would rather keep hidden? Things you may be ashamed of? Things you are not proud of? Is there anything you did today, in the past week, or the past year, that you are ashamed of? Things that you know were not right?
Perhaps there are things in your life you used to be ashamed of, but in the meantime they have become normal. Gossip about others? Have you hurt people doing that? Are you controlled by greed? Are you clever with money in such a way that others or the government is put at a disadvantage? Do you watch pornography on the internet or are you even unfaithful? Do you misuse alcohol? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to uphold your reputation? Are you terribly jealous of what others have and you do not? Or are there other things you keep hidden from the people around you?
Are you able to give your Creator the proper respect and appreciation? Are you willing to find out His purpose for your life? Can He be proud of what you do every day? Or are there things you do or have done that the righteous Judge will have to act upon? The Bible says:
There is no one who is trying to be with God. They have all turned away from him, and now they are of no use to anyone. There is no one who does good, not even one. 1
Can we right our own wrongs?
No one does everything right. We all do things that are wrong. You would think we can make up for the bad things by doing enough good things. But can all mistakes be made right by doing good things? Many mistakes cause damage that cannot be repaired.
Suppose someone has worked at a charitable institution for years. He has helped build childrens’ homes and schools. Many children get a good education and a better life because of this person. But what if this person also abused one of the children? Would it be just to cancel out the abuse because of all the good work that person did? Would justice be done to the abused child in this way?
I hope you will never have to deal with a situation like this. Fortunately, most people are not child molesters, murderers or major criminals. But look at your own life. What did you do when you were jealous? Did you hurt people by gossiping about them? How do you act toward your partner, your family? Are you always honest with money? Or maybe you think you are better than others.
Unfortunately, I do not know anyone who lives a perfect life. Do you?
The result of our freedom of choice seems disastrous!
We mainly live the way we want to. We have ourselves or maybe our family as first priority. We are proud and stubborn. That is the reason we keep ignoring what the Creator wants. We disappoint Him by doing what we want. The relationship between God and us becomes worse every time.
If a partner is unfaithful, the relationship will be permanently changed. Damage has been done, the other partner is betrayed. Even if you are only unfaithful once, you cannot set it right by being faithful for a long time. Trust has been violated. To rebuild the relationship, you will first have to realize what you did wrong. You must realize how much you hurt the other person. Only if there is true repentance and the other person is willing to forgive you, the relationship can be repaired.
In our relationship with God the same happens. We mainly think about ourselves and perhaps also about our family and everyting that keep us occupied every day. We are proud and self-willed. We keep ignoring or even disappointing Him. Every time we damage our relationship with Him. Every time the relationship is more difficult to repair. Especially when you realize that God is just and cannot overlook a mistake.
But you are so stubborn! You refuse to change. So you are making your own punishment greater and greater. You will be punished on the day when God will show his anger. On that day everyone will see how right God is to judge people. 2
Is there any hope for us?
Our freedom of choice allows us to choose between good and evil. Every day we choose to lie, deceive, gossip, argue, envy others, and be ruled by power, money and illegitimate sexual desires. We are proud and short-sighted and think mainly about what makes us feel good right now. Perhaps we are even addicted to certain habits or the things we have or want to have. We often think about ourselves and forget to think about the Creator’s purpose.
God is the source of truth and justice. Therefore, He cannot overlook your wrongs. Even you are truly sorry and promise to do better. If He just forgave you, He would no longer be just and reliable.
When we go against His will, it is an insult to God’s dignity. And if you are honest, you will have to admit that you go against His will very often during the day. In the words of the example I mentioned earlier: we punch Him in the face again and again.
Are we hopelessly lost?