Which moral compass do we choose?

    A compass gives direction when one is lost. Today, a computer app makes a traditional compass obsolete. A moral compass is more complicated.

    Morality is determined by individuals, social groups and governments. Individuals’ beliefs are based on a combination of their environment and the need for self-preservation. Environment includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors. These are influenced by family, friends, social norms and perhaps a god.

    Social groups base their morality on a collective set of common beliefs. Such groups are defined by race, religion, politics, and gender. Actions or statements from a member of a majority can be prejudiced while the same behavior of a minority is not. The same occurs with our affiliations.

    Bad behaviors are excused by those with similar philosophies but deemed outrageous if performed by adversaries. Double standards are rampant. Their actions are deplorable, ours are OK. We are all bigots by someone’s definition. “A man’s ways seem right in his own eyes” is a famous quote.

    Governments define morality by laws created by elected officials or by decree of a dictator. While most laws benefit the majority of people, others can be deemed immoral. Some governments eliminate certain ethnic groups, persecute those who do not hold the same religious beliefs and kill unborn babies. While these are extreme examples, many repulsive behaviors with less significant outcomes exist.

    Which of these words best describes the way we rationalize our behavior: victim, revenge, justice, survival? Phrases like: “The end justifies the means,” “For the greater good,” “The lesser of evils,” “Everyone is doing it,” vindicate our actions.

    The truth is everyone determines their own moral compass. No one agrees with everything another person or group of people believe. Many will deem our beliefs disgraceful and theirs righteous. However, to believe we are moral and others are not is by definition elitism or hypocrisy.

    So, are we all moral or all immoral? We can’t know the answer without a standard. There is one. The law Moses received from God. It started with 10 but grew to several hundred.

    Jesus later reduced them to two. “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Still, no human has ever lived up to this simplified version.

    Why did God issue a goal that no one could achieve? If we could live by His law, we would consider ourselves superior. By God’s standard, we are all immoral, which is another word for sinners.

    So, does God hate all of us? No, he hates the sin, but loves the sinner. If sin severs our relationship with God, can it be restored? Yes, believe in the gospel message: Jesus was sent by God to save mankind from their sins. Trust Jesus is who He says He is — the son of God who died on a cross, resurrected on the third day and sits at the Father’s right hand. While God’s love is unconditional, we must choose to accept it. A gift that cannot be earned.

    The decision to receive this gift doesn’t make us perfect or even good. However, our hearts will grow with compassion for others. Our actions may bring them to question why we are different. A perfect opportunity to introduce them to Jesus.

    The old compass may have been replaced by an app. However, God’s moral compass is eternal and found in his instruction book, the Bible.

    Which moral compass do we choose? Our own or one through Jesus? “Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” — Romans 10:9 (NKJV).

    That’s all it takes.


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