“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.” Judges 21:25
Spoiler alert, that is the last line from the book of Judges. Skeptical friends, you want to read a disturbing book of the Bible. Read the book of Judges. I hear this question thrown around a lot. “How can the Bible talk about rape, child sacrifice, incest, and all these other evil acts?” The Bible is purposefully written as a history book, not a fairy-tale. God hates acts of evil but the Bible has these stories because that’s exactly what happened in history. Be careful with the picture of God you create by the out-of-context fragments of the Bible you take plus your vivid imagination. Maybe, just maybe the God that you’ve created in your head is one that I don’t believe in either. Be careful with how you paint the Christian God without even reading and understanding the Bible.
I re-read these disturbing 21 chapters lately. In the book of Judges, there’s this idea and statement that gets repeated frequently. “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” is basically the one sentence summary of that gruesome book.
When I look at our society, I see that same phrase being played out. Arguably we’re slightly better, but maybe not, we are all imperfect people after all. I see this being played out with the masks or lack thereof with the pandemic. I see this being played out as the 2020 elections are coming up. I see this when I’m at work. I see this when I talk to my friends and family. I see this at the grocery store. I see this in myself. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes, including me. That’s key. As much as my ego wants to just say “Kira always did what was right”, we all know realistically, I am also doing what’s right in my own eyes a lot of the time. Just spend like five minutes with me. You’ll see.
I think we as individuals and we as a society need to understand that premise we all have. We’re doing what makes sense to us and what feels right. Key word: feels. Maybe our limited minds don’t know the answer to everything. Maybe we’re a lot more ignorant than we realize. “Be yourself and do what you love.” And I don’t think that entire statement is wrong, God made you beautifully, love the way that God made you. God gave you passions and desires. Admire yourself as a purposefully created being, absolutely. But, do what you love? What about when someone has evil intentions? What about when it’s harmful?
“Be yourself. Do what you love as long as you aren’t harming anyone.” But what if we don’t know what’s harmful because our minds are finite? We can’t always see the whole picture so how do we know what’s right? It’s something to ponder, definitely. I also don’t think that going with the majority is always the right answer. We see this all over history. We see this in today’s society. We’re quick to agree on one thing and then five years later we have a completely new definition of right and wrong and here we go, cancel culture at it’s finest. I’ve already spent time talking about cancel culture in a previous post, so I won’t continue, but I will say I think it’s important how we handle cancel culture. We should push to grow. We should learn from our mistakes. We shouldn’t be afraid to call things out when they’re wrong, but we should extend grace, forgiveness and love. “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
The book of Judges results in people doing what’s right in their own eyes because they slowly begin turning away from God and the character of God. Doesn’t that remind you of today with all the hate and evil in the world? My non-Christian friends, do not leave this post now, please just give me a chance. Let me just show you how I see life, despite if you agree or not. I’ve tried your worldview, I humbly ask that you try mine at least for the time it takes for you to read this.
Following Jesus has never promised a life without trouble. Do not be fooled with the false teachings of the “prosperity gospel”. Just look at the life of Jesus and His disciples. Look at the book of Job. Look at all the Christians who lost their lives because of their faith. Following Jesus is not a pain-free life by any means, not at all. For the Christian, though we selfishly sin and though we’re made imperfect, the goal is to do what’s right in God’s eyes.
Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone, but the lifestyle and the desire for the Christians to live a God-pleasing life stems from an outpouring of God’s love for us. This is why we want to do what’s right in God’s eyes, it’s not because we fear we will lose our salvation. Remember this moving forward, friends. The book of Proverbs paints it perfectly:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
For me that means loving God and loving people. This means treating people with kindness. This means living a life that’s selfless. This means forgiving others even when I don’t want to. This means living a life of integrity. This means looking to the desires of others. This means having humility and understanding that I don’t know all, not even close. This means seeing people as creations not as objects. It’s acting in a way that glorifies the character of God instead of just doing what feels right for the heck of it. And here’s the hardest one of them all and the one you most disagree with, skeptical friends, standing firm in my faith and in the Bible even when the world says otherwise. That can be hard when living in a society that says “do what you want”, but friends, I can’t trust that my finite mind knows better than an infinite God. Skeptical friends, stay with me. Please hear me out.
I’m not always perfect at being this “good Christian”. I’ll rephrase it; I’m rarely perfect at this but the best part of Christianity is following Jesus isn’t about following rules or being perfect. It’s by faith alone through Christ alone. Maybe an all-knowing God knows a little bit more than we give Him credit for.
“Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:5
You hear words and phrases like “fear of The Lord” or “the wrath of God” without knowing the complete context. As Christians, we also refer to ourselves as God’s children, hence why when we pray sometimes we use “Father” when referring to God. Truthfully, I don’t know your childhood and maybe the idea of God as a father isn’t appealing if your relationship with your dad wasn’t great. I am sorry for the hurt you have and had to deal with. I’m sorry.
The Father that the Christians describe God to be is like the ideal parent times a million. God has this unconditional love for His kids. He is love and everything He does is for love. He is nothing like the abusive and manipulative man you had to grow up with. He is love. He is the greatest dad of all dads (sorry, dad).
“ See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him.” 1 John 3:1
So I think about God as my Father figure and learn to see myself as a child. I think about the crazy things I thought were right when I was four, ten and seventeen. When my parents said “no”, I thought it was because they enjoy seeing me “suffer” and enjoy being in control, but as I got older, that wasn’t the case. They said “no” purely out of love. Though I couldn’t see it nor could my finite mind understand it, they knew what was best even when I completely disagreed. They knew more than me.
What if that’s how we are with an infinite God? That’s how I see it. Though there are “hot topics” of the Bible that the world tries to rip apart, what if we are just all little children that don’t fully understand God’s love, grace and faithfulness? A lot of the controversial topics of the Bible are controversial because no one has taken the time to actually read the Bible and understand the much needed context. Be careful with the “contradictory” or “hypocritical” statements of the Bible. Context is important.
Could we have child-like minds when we compare ours to God? I think that is completely possible. In fact, that would be my best guess. It’s humbling to think about how little I know, even the things I feel like an “expert” on. When you look at things through that lens, I feel like it makes some of the unexplainable slightly more explainable.
“Or maybe Kira that’s just a cop-out answer to try to justify things in the Bible.” Maybe. But I think about the things we used to think and the things we used to believe even when the Bible said otherwise and I see how the Bible was right all along. We used to think the earth was flat, there were only 1100 stars, light didn’t move but the Bible said otherwise and later on science agreed with the Bible. Isn’t that interesting? We’re quick to say that science and history go against the Bible but it very much works with it and they prove one another. Don’t believe me, go and do your research. Consider reading my Evangelism 101 series.
Yeah, we’re much further along compared to back then, but our minds are still limited. Maybe we’re wrong about a lot of the things we try to justify. Though we’re seeing and doing things that are right in our own eyes, maybe we’re ignorant to the reality of it. Have you ever stopped and questioned that? It doesn’t take away the pain. It doesn’t take away the confusion. It doesn’t take away the frustration, but it brings perspective and humility, doesn’t it?
Consider the book of Judges as you live life. I’m taking a slightly different direction to this book so I suggest everyone read and re-read it. Christian friends, when the Bible speaks directly to a topic, it’s our jobs to understand the full context of it and to understand who God is. We must remember to glorify God in all that we do, 1 Cor. 10:31 speaks on this. In the same way, when the Bible doesn’t directly speak on certain societal issues, be extremely careful. Be slow to conclude as you approach topics that the Bible doesn’t speak on. Be honest to your non-Christian friends about what the Bible directly says and doesn’t speak on. Be slow, Christians. Be willing to admit that you may be wrong about your interpretation of a passage from the Bible. Even me.
I don’t have some sort of grand game plan moving forward. Everyone does what’s right in their own eyes, including me. That’s sort of my takeaway. I think that’s the premise we must remember as we do life with so many beautifully created imperfect people filled in an imperfect place. With all things, it’s important to be loving, kindhearted, gracious, slow to anger and forgiving as we do life with people that have all sorts of opinions when it comes to right and wrong. Listen to one another. Put your pride down for two seconds and consider you may be wrong about something. I say this to you and I say this to myself. I believe we can do a lot more from sitting down and genuinely listening to one another rather than creating sides and finding the perfect way to win your argument every time. Our minds are finite after all, maybe we are wrong about a lot of things. Maybe we’re not nearly as intelligent as we claim to be.
Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, I think there’s a lot we can learn from it. Compare your morals with the character of God. I bet if you read the book of Proverbs, you would greatly benefit from all of the wisdom on, well, how to be a person. Strongly consider what the Bible offers. Love, acceptance, peace, salvation, etc. What if we took the Bible for what it is, the word of God, the word of something much greater and wiser than any of us. What if we did right in God’s eyes? It’s something to deeply consider.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Maybe you have more confidence and faith in our society than I do, but I think we’re a lot less wise than we realize. Maybe there are flaws to our conclusions. I wonder what our conversations with one another looked like if we were willing to admit that we could be wrong about a lot of things. I wonder that daily. If we do what’s right in our own eyes and we have a limited mind, I wonder about the flaws in our past, current and future decisions. Don’t you?
“ For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” Hebrews 4:12-13
Thank you for taking the time to read this. You are so loved. And for my readers who need this, this is taken right from the Bible, inspired by an all-loving and all-knowing God…
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 5 he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life. 8” Titus 3:4-8