Dear Beachside Family and Friends,
According to recent Barna Group research, 57% of American adults believe that knowing what is morally right or wrong is a matter of personal experience and interpretation. Among this group, 74% of millennials agree that "whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know." These findings indicate that a majority of adult Americans, and three quarters of young adults, believe that morality is a matter of personal interpretation, and not subject to any absolutes.
The midterm elections ahead provides a background that highlights the significance of this research. It appears that a substantial number of our citizens are willing to support candidates who lie without fear of correction or reprisal. If lying for political gain is acceptable, where do we draw the line between right and wrong in other matters of culture? If we elect and support leaders who purposefully deceive us, we certainly have no basis to complain when they continue to lie. Is this truly the conviction of the majority of our citizens, that we can construct our own morality apart from our responsibility to others?
My observation of Christians and non-Christians, liberals and conservatives, men and women alike is this: No one really likes to be lied to, especially in the context of relationships. We do not want someone to tell us they love us, and sleep with someone else. It's a lie! We don't want insurance companies to tell us our losses are covered, and then refuse to pay up. It's a lie! We don't want to buy a product that has a guarantee that we later discover is worthless. It's a lie! The amazing thing is this: we don't like to be lied to personally, but it's acceptable if politicians lie to citizens locally and nationwide. Are we so intent on personal gain that we end up lying to ourselves?
If there are no moral absolutes, and we develop our own morality, then we have become the center of our own universe, our own god. This Self-ism is a religion that enables us to accept the falsehoods of those running for and holding political office because we believe that we personally benefit from electing them. It's appropriate for them to deceive as long as we get what we want. This thinking can only result in being deceived and deceiving ourselves. If they lied to others they WILL lie to us! Liars lie, it's what they do, and when they do it long enough they begin to believe their own lies, to the detriment of everyone.
Solomon, the most powerful political figure of his day made this statement. "Some people think they are doing right, but in the end it leads to death." (Pro 14:12) Unfortunately, he did not take his own advice. He became self-absorbed and created his own morality, forsaking the law of God and lying to himself. "For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God" (1 Kings 11:4) In spite of all of his riches and wisdom, he died declaring that life was worthless and vain. His son Rehoboam followed in his footsteps, and lost the rulership of Israel, except the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
The ways of death will be manifest in those who choose to live lives of deception and immorality. Not because God desires this result, but because becoming one's own god removes the influence of the true God from human lives. Left to themselves, with no moral absolutes, men invite death and destruction into their lives and the culture in which they live. The United States stands on the knife edge between a descent into unfettered immorality and Self-ism, or an ascent to reclaim the summit of Biblical morality. There is still hope, as the same Barna Group survey reveals that "a majority also agrees that the Bible provides us with absolute moral truths which are the same for all people in all situations, without exception.” The seeds of revival are found in the Word of God. Those who say they are believers must now choose to stand upon the Word without fear or equivocation. As always, it's all about the Word. The future of our nation depends on it!