Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Moral Illiteracy

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38 NLT)

Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. And more specifically, many of our founding fathers professed belief in Jesus Christ. Though revisionists try to change that narrative, a careful study of history will show that it’s true.

It’s our departure from this truth that has brought us to where we are today. With abortion on demand on an epidemic scale, marriages falling apart at record rates, and rampant violence in our streets, this should not surprise us.

The Bible says, “They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7 NLT). How true. Our departure from God’s principles has brought us to the moral illiteracy that we have today.

In his book Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong, William Kilpatrick wrote about how, as a college professor, he started noticing what he called signs of moral illiteracy among his students. For instance, in a discussion about the Ten Commandments, no one could list them, either individually or as a class.[1]

Kilpatrick was right in noting a connection between morality and the Ten Commandments. That’s because in the Ten Commandments, we find absolute truth written by the finger of God on tablets of stone. It’s truth we can depend on, truth we can believe in.

With the Ten Commandments God is saying, “Here is what I have done for you: I have forgiven you of your sin, redeemed you, and bought you. Now here is what you can do for Me: you can keep My commandments.”

The Bible says, “We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19 NLT).

In Matthew’s Gospel, we read about an expert in religious law who tried to trap Jesus. He said, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” (Matthew 22:36 NLT).

Jesus answered, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (verses 37–40 NLT).

Now, Jesus wasn’t doing away with the Ten Commandments. Rather, He was summing them up perfectly.

If we love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, then we won’t have any other gods before Him. We won’t worship idols or take God’s name in vain.

And if we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we won’t steal from them, lie to them, or covet something that belongs to them. Essentially Jesus was saying, “Get this down, and the commandments will come together for you.”

It all starts with God’s place in our lives. We will serve what or whom we worship. Jesus said, “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him” (Matthew 4:10 NLT).

If God is number one in our lives, then everything else will find its proper balance. But if He is not, then everything else will fall into chaos.

Copyright © 2023 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

[1] William Kilpatrick, Why Johnny Can't Can't Tell Right from Wrong: And What We Can Do About It (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993).

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