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Discovery Magazine 5/1/1997

How Do You Know What is Right and What is Wrong?

Everyone knows that we "ought" to do right and we "ought not" to do wrong. Is it "wrong" to steal, or to commit murder? Of course it is. But how do we decide what is "right" and what is "wrong"? There is much confusion about this and many incorrect answers are given to this question.

Many years ago, a French writer, whose name was Rousseau, said: "What I feel to be right is right. What I feel to be wrong is wrong." A famous American author, Ernest Hemingway, declared: "What is right is what you feel good about after doing it. What is wrong is what you feel bad about after doing it." Think about these statements for a moment.

A little more than fifty years ago, a man named Adolf Hitler was a military leader in Germany. He felt that he was doing "right" when he caused six million Jews to be put to death. He believed the Jewish people were "inferior," so he thought he was helping the human family "evolve" toward a higher standard by getting rid of Jews. Or think about this. A vicious criminal planned the murders of several people a few years ago in California. When he was interviewed on television afterward, he bragged that he "felt good" following his evil deed.

Were these two men right in murdering others? No, they were not! When God gave the ten commandments in the Old Testament, one of them was, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ taught the same thing (read Mark 10:19). Here is the point. Human beings do not have the wisdom, and they do not have the right, to make up the rules for their conduct. Only God does. He is our Maker and He has the authority to set the rules for our activity. God’s laws have been written in the Bible and, especially for our day, they are contained in the New Testament.

We must carefully study this Holy Book to find out what is "right" and what is "wrong."



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