Acts, #80. Acts 22.
Who is right and who is wrong? You cannot make the determination from the news media--like how the Coronavirus came to be and what our moral response should be. What is right and what is wrong? First, we were told that the vaccine would protect us, but there are so many who contract Covid after getting the vaccine--so what is right and what is wrong?
And then there are moral decisions to be made: things which would never have been at issue a decade ago are now fair game. Does our culture have a moral compass anymore? I do not think so.
Sometimes you do not know how to feel about something…. until a line is crossed. Then you know.
Back to the apostle Paul. Even when chained to two Roman soldiers, Paul addressed a large crowd and told them how Jesus Christ had radically changed his life. He had gone from being a proud Pharisee to a whatever it takes and at all costs, ‘Give them Jesus’ man.
But something interesting happened which we read at the end of Acts 22. When Paul addressed the hostile crowd, they listened quietly about his radical transformation--that is, until this happened. They recognized it immediately: Paul had crossed the line. In this case, the line involved the Gentiles. The Jewish leaders were outraged that God’s salvation would be meant for the Gentiles. This is where the crowd drew the line.
That grabbed me.
Where do you and I draw the line, morally speaking?
At a time when colleges and universities are teaching that there is no absolute truth, and there is no absolute right and wrong because what is wrong for you may not be wrong for me - how do we make decisions in our own lives?
While this is a vast topic, I should like to boil it down and make it simple.
We are born with a conscience that informs our decision making from a young age which is certainly shaped by upbringing and training. However, at a certain age which comes sooner or later for every person, we either choose to honor God or not; we choose the morally correct thing or something else, something less.
Regularly my counsel is sought by those who are in a moral dilemma.
I thought to copy and paste a recent question I was emailed, but since it had to do with a coarse subject, decided against it. How do I answer? ‘Will doing this thing move you closer to God or will it likely move you away from him (because you have guilt over the thing)? Which begs the next question: who are you living for--solely for your own pleasure or to honor God? Hedonism - the pursuit of pleasure - ultimately leaves one feeling void and without purpose; it is just a matter of time, and somehow you realize your life is meaningless.
Where is the line for you and is it your desire to regularly dance right up to the line but not go over it--in other words, do everything you can right up to the point of out-and-out sin? Or is it your desire to please God and stay away from the line altogether? What an interesting thought.
As I sit, I am looking at a large rocking chair in my home--if God was sitting there, would I do ‘the thing’? If my thoughts were projected on the wall, would I be embarrassed for God to see them? Hmmm, another litmus test.
One last thought. Not everything is even a question of sin or right and wrong.
As Paul wrote, all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial.1 Quite thought provoking.
How about the vaccine? How about vaccine mandates? How about the public school system mandating that your child be vaccinated? Is that a question of morality? And again I ask you ‘where do you draw the line?’ You say ‘get the vaccine--what’s the big deal?’ Well perhaps my conviction over the vaccine concerns testing on aborted fetal lines or I have a medical condition that would make the vaccine risky for me… and I certainly do not want my child to have it…where’s the line? Do I obey the government? And then what about the military, the firefighters, the nurses and flight attendants, etc. who have been or will be fired for not being vaccinated for a disease which has a 99.7% recovery rate. What is going on??
The moral line on such a matter must be drawn between you and God. He promises to give us wisdom when we ask him for it.2 Once your line is drawn, be courageous. Whichever way you determine is correct for you (and for your child), courage will be required of you. Courage to know why you believe what you believe, courage to stand and endure consequences of your decision, either way.
But this one thing I know, the pandemic has been an excuse to clamp down on our freedom--and we must be wise in response. Christians need to become part of the solution to maintain our liberty and freedom--and if you live in America, to remember that America was founded on Christian principles for the cause of liberty.
Let us be a people of conviction who desire to do what is right and honor God in all things. Right vs. wrong: where do you draw the line?
Check out this song, from the White House a few years back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLW2aTQSYNw
1 - 1 Corinthians 10.23
2 - James 1.5