It’s Not Wrong When I Do It
Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. Revelation 15:3-4
In our marriage, when my wife and I have some conflict, she must occasionally remind me that if she acted the way I was acting, I’d be offended. I know she’s right, but still, in my bad behavior, I must defend myself. This is different because . . . I know if she did the same thing, I’d be frustrated but I feel that for some reason, it’s simply different when I do it. It’s not wrong for me.
I displayed this same arrogance in my addiction. I’m not an addict. I’m a doctor, using medication. I know what I’m doing. I deserve it because I work a stressful job. It’s not wrong for me. Deep down, I knew right and wrong, but to slip my toxic behavior past my conscience, I had to rewrite the rules as they applied to me. Like I said – arrogant.
Most of us are prone to this though. We can clearly see when others live by their own rules – and it offends us. As Christians, believing in right and wrong, we oppose the world’s relativism which claims that everyone defines their own truth. Yet, when it comes to our behavior and our sin, we have a list of reasons why it’s different when we do it. I wouldn’t be so angry if you weren’t so frustrating. I’d be faithful if my spouse would meet my needs. I’d love my neighbors if they weren’t so unlovable. I’d be less greedy if God would give me more money.
We don’t make the rules though. We don’t determine right and wrong. God does. In today’s passage, we read of a host in heaven, singing to God that he alone is holy – set apart. If we believe God made the world, then he alone gets to define right and wrong. He doesn’t have to meet some standard because he is the standard. As creator, just as he defined the laws of nature, he defines the moral laws of the world which he made.
As Christians, we nod our heads in agreement with this, until it bumps up against the way we want to live. But it’s different when I do it. We all have our excuses, but they all ring with hollow arrogance. We’re not different. The rules do apply to us. If we want to know the life, joy, and peace for which we were made, then we must humbly submit to God, because he alone defines right and wrong – not us.