Our preschooler ran into the kitchen, holding his shirt and loudly asking, “Is it clean or is it dirty?” We had required him to ask that question, for his opinion on the issue had proven unreliable. His decisions seemed based on factors such as the relative ease of throwing something in the clothes hamper compared to hanging it up, or the fact that it was a cowboy shirt which he wanted to wear the next day.
And so he asked his mother, “Is it clean or is it dirty?” It’s his mother’s judgment that counts. Brother’s opinion may not be the same as mother’s. What does mother say?
Is it right or is it wrong? It’s God’s judgment that counts. Man’s opinion may or may not indicate what God says.
God has given every man a conscience that works well enough for all to know we are sinners (Romans 2: 14-15). But our ability to know right from wrong is limited. If everyone does what is right in his own eyes we will have great trouble, confusion, and sadness. We need to know what God says is right and wrong. Just like a young boy needs help in distinguishing clean from dirty, all of us need help in distinguishing right from wrong.
Was the boy ever able to distinguish clean from dirty? Yes. How? By continual exposure to the standard. Over and over again he heard from his mother, This is clean and This is dirty. Gradually, he became able to copy her judgment.
Can our sense of right and wrong be improved? Yes. By continually checking to find what God says – checking in the Word of God over and over again – and then living by what we find, we grow in our ability to discern right from wrong.
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:14