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
My son and I were discussing his interest in helping Alethea memorize Scripture, when the four year old entered the room. It popped into my head to say, “Alethea, the next time I see you, if you can say a verse from memory, I will give you a nickel.” (Big spending doesn’t pop into my head.)
Well, she seemed motivated. She immediately turned to her dad and wanted him to work with her on memorizing. He said they would later and she left.
A few minutes later she returned and asked, “Opa, what’s a nickel?”
I take it that her attitude had been, “I don’t know what a nickel is, but if Opa’s going to give me one, it must be good.”
My concept of the heavenly rewards is dim, but if God considers them a reward, they must be good.
The city where we lived was well known for its deteriorated conditions. Our neighborhood was still fairly nice, but changes were occurring rapidly. Police were ill equipped to deal with problems.
On a weekday morning my wife and I had just awakened and were still lying in bed when suddenly a young fellow entered our bedroom. He walked around the bed to my side … climbed up onto the bed … and said, “I want in the middle.”
If he had been a total stranger, his entrance would have been criminal intrusion. If he had been a friend, his entrance would still have been obnoxious. But because he was our toddler son, I was struck at the time with the beauty of the security of knowing you are wanted.
I thought of Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Christians come boldly to the throne of God, the sovereign of the universe. Our boldness is not the boldness of a criminal, nor the boldness of the crude, but like the boldness of children who know they are wanted. What a privilege: to know that God welcomes our prayer. We are welcome in His presence.