According to an article in a recent San Diego-Tribune, there is a poll out that shows high school students are lying, cheating and stealing more than ever. But—get this—they are feeling less guilty about it.
Clearly, their "self-esteem" has been improving, as they actually have less and less to be feeling good about. The idea has been that you don’t have to feel bad. You don’t have to feel guilty. You don’t have to let your life be slowed down by guilt.
But what if what you are doing is wrong?
Proverbs 14:34 makes the point that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Righteousness exalts a nation. There are reasons why we are having the problems in our society that we are having right now; why we are having problems all over the United States and Canada, and all over the western world—a supposedly "Christian"-professing world.
What has happened? The law of God has been thrown out. Not only are there movements to remove the Ten Commandments from public buildings and from schools, the reality is that the Ten Commandments were thrown out of the churches of professing Christianity a long, long time ago. Yes, there may have been a plaque on the wall. Little children may have been taught to memorize those commandments. But the idea has been that you do not really need to obey God.
As our society has moved to become more secular, Bible-based values have been put aside. So where are the ethics coming from for students—young people—growing up? Where are their moral values? If you live in a society that is based on situation ethics—if you just do what feels good—who defines morality? Who defines right and wrong? Who determines what a person ought to do or not do?
Righteousness exalts a nation. What is righteousness? God inspired the answer in His Word: "All Thy Commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119:172). When you lay aside the law of God, you have no basis to even know what is right and what is wrong. Yes, there may be young people who are "feeling better about themselves," but the conduct that lies behind their lives—and what they are "feeling better about"—is destructive. Sin is a reproach to any people. What is sin? Again, the Bible defines it: "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).
Our society is in trouble, because God’s laws are just as real as the physical laws of science—just as real as the law of gravity. A society that is lying and cheating and stealing is sowing the seeds of disruption—and of the destruction of everything in it that is solid and that is real.
This is John Ogwyn, with commentary for the Living Church of God.