What Ever Happened to Right and Wrong?

By Chip Ingram

Have you ever wondered whatever happened to right and wrong? I believe the real question behind what is right and what is wrong is: “What is true?”

If you can’t define what’s true, then you can’t determine the difference between right and wrong.

For thousands of years, most people believed that telling the truth, not stealing, being faithful to your partner, being kind, keeping your word, forgiving people who’ve done you wrong, and not murdering were absolute truths. If people disobeyed these truths, they knew their actions were wrong. This is not the case with most Americans today.

In the last 50 years, there’s been a clear shift in how people view truth. Recent studies show that 91 percent of teens – along with 66 percent of adults — don’t believe in absolute truth anymore. It’s now a commonly held belief that truth is relative.

In our pluralistic society, all opinions all the time have equal value. The public rhetoric is: “I have my truth and you have your truth… so who are you to judge?”

So what’s the problem with this kind of thinking?

The moral implications are great. For many, life has become meaningless. As a result, it’s common for people to indiscriminately kill others with no remorse because they don’t see any value in life. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of unwed teens becoming pregnant, using drugs, killing others, and committing suicide.

The Bible tells us that regardless of what we “believe,” our actions have consequences. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” 

In this passage, God is saying, “I’m God. I choose what’s best. I call the shots.” We can choose not to believe what God says about truth, human sexuality, and wisdom, but this doesn’t mean that His word is not absolute and true. That’s why when we violate God’s truth – regardless of what we believe — we reap painful consequences.

Sadly, there are many painful consequences to not adhering to absolute truth, whether we believe in the truth or not. For instance, we don’t have to believe in gravity to jump off a three-story building and experience its deadly effects. Similarly, just because we might believe that we can save money at the pump by filling up our car with water, doesn’t negate the absolute truth that our car only runs on gas.

This might sound silly, but the reality is that most of us don’t have a problem with adhering to these and countless other truths, yet, when it comes to the biggest issues in life, we think we can call all of our own shots with no negative consequences. And this breaks God’s heart.

There’s an absolute truth that when you’re down and hurting you can be certain there’s a real future and a hope, whether you believe it or not. God’s concern for us is great and He longs for a connection that’s real and absolute. But we we’ll never fully have this with Him until we realize and live by His absolute truths.

This week, we’re starting a new series called Culture Shock. In it, we’ll learn how to understand and communicate God’s truth about some of the most controversial and polarizing issues in our culture. My prayer is that during this series, we’ll become people who think about truth accurately so that we can make a difference in our homes and neighborhoods by bringing light, not heat, to the core issues of today.

Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge


Written By

Chip Ingram

Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge

Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.

More Articles by Chip

Like what you're reading?

Get free sermon MP3s, devotionals, blog content and more. Join our email list.