How do we know what is right? In this world, that which is “right” is defined in many different ways. We live in an age where many believe that truth is relative. Moral relativism is the belief that moral judgments are true or false based on a certain standpoint. Relativists view moral values as being applicable within certain cultural boundaries only. One widely-held belief says, “if it’s true for you, then it’s true. If it’s not true for you, then it is not true.”
Those who subscribe to this belief — that truth is relative — naturally come to the conclusion that you really cannot determine what is right or what is wrong, at least not universally. To determine what is right, or to make a distinction between what is right and wrong is not only a meaningless pursuit in their eyes but something that should be avoided altogether.
The Bible teaches us that there is absolute truth and that we can tell the difference between right and wrong. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 to think on whatever is right; to reason to a logical conclusion that which is right, or that which is just, as some translations put it.
Approved By God
The word for right in our “whatever” verse (Philippians 4:8) refers to that which is approved by God. It shows that the standard for what is right comes from God Himself. Simply put, if God defines it as “right,” then it is right. Therefore, we cannot define what is truly right based on our individual human standpoints. Moral relativism, therefore, goes against scripture; it goes against God.
There are many scriptures that speak to this principle of righteousness, showing the universal truth of what is right. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, was described as a righteous man. Jesus said that God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” indicating that there is a contrast between what is right and what is not. Paul says in the first chapter of Romans that righteous people live by faith. We are told that we are made right when we place our faith in God.
God has standards! He defines what is righteous, and calls us to be righteous. He will make us right if we make Him Lord of our lives. We are also told that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and that He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
To say that we need to do what is right may sound oversimplified to some people. The Apostle Paul apparently saw righteousness as one of those things that fit into the category of something that is “excellent or praiseworthy,” and as something that we should ponder. Jesus spoke about righteousness as did many other authors ofthe the books of the Bible.
. . . But To Do Justice
Micah 6:8 says “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (NASV).
In the marketplace, we find that many people will define what is right, what is just according to their human, earthly standards. Their actions may often reflect a distorted view of righteousness. You may be faced with having to address these issues in the workplace as well, whether you are trying to determine what is right, or helping others understand that righteousness should be defined by God’s standards, not ours.
Today’s Takeaway: God determines what is right. We are to conform to God’s standard of righteousness, not man’s. In the marketplace, there are many situations that may put us in a position to where we may need to make difficult decisions. That’s why it is imperative to think on that which is right.