Right and wrong aren’t people.
Five simple words, really. We can label all we want—elevate our position, rank and righteousness, but it’s all spitting in the wind. All dust. Right and wrong aren’t people. Right and wrong aren’t you and me. They’re a moral filter: an analysis of behaviour based on codes established and evolving—within families, within culture, within churches and communities.
All of us are capable of profound good and profound evil—sometimes on the same day. At the heart of all of us lies a desire to do good and a struggle with evil. In some ways, that’s us at our purest. Because absolute truth bears little resemblance to our evolving and established codes. In time, perhaps consciously, perhaps subconsciously, we descend into a moral relativism where we reflect those codes rather than shine a light on them.
Trite as it sounds, we’re called to add flavour in a pluralistic culture where the handles that once could be grasped hold of in all the noise are drowned out by that relativism. And every subsequent word drifts away from the ultimate point: right and wrong aren’t people. Absolute Truth is, though. Absolute Truth can be known. It can be related to and, because it’s not shifting sand, it can be relied upon. Not in some esoteric, philosophical way, but in a rootsy, homely, life-changing, life-sweeping, and relational way.
Our deepest longings aren’t our ability to tell right from wrong or even to grasp from the tree that will help us tell the difference. Our deepest longing is to be loved and validated by someone we rate. Someone believable and trustworthy. Someone who perhaps knows us well enough to know we’re not always lovable but who ‘signs up’ all the same.
Part of the problem with our longing is that it’s difficult to comprehend. Can perfection have anything to do with imperfection without being stained or allowing mud to stick?
It would take a hero of supernatural proportions to navigate our hardheartedness without being frustrated by continued expressions of unrequited love and unreceived gifts of grace – none of these rejections seeming to bring into doubt the worth of initiating, nor diminish the furious passion with which that love is expressed. And yet, ‘kingdoms rise, and kingdoms fall, and Absolute Truth goes on’.
Absolute Truth isn’t dissuaded by our clumsy responses or complete obliviousness. Heart-broken, but not dissuaded.
Absolute Truth keeps knocking on the door like one with a hopeless crush on a girl who’s just found her name in the White Pages. Except that He doesn’t give up. And His love isn’t immature nor ignorant. It’s informed by matters of love, life and death.
There’s time for seeing in Jesus the perfection that inspires us to turn around and look to Him. But that has little to do with His knock on the door of our lives. He wants to come in. Into the mess, into the noise, and into our messed up notions of right and wrong. He wants to go for a long walk along a sun-drenched, pot-hole ridden beach.