Well, what did we expect?
Bad behavior abounds and we act all surprised and appalled. Sexual misconduct, racism, bigotry, fake news, intolerance, anti-Semitism, hatred…we call it out and judge and condemn as if we actually have some kind of moral authority. But we brought this wave of wrongdoing on ourselves, and consequently lost our right to judge it.
What makes a person behave badly? Or perhaps more precisely, what constrains a person from behaving badly? For many it’s merely the threat of negative consequences…bad press, loss of job or reputation, damage to relationships, or damage to one’s psyche from castigation by the crowd. But those are only dangers when a deed is discovered. If you think you won’t get caught, why not do the deed?
Others are not constrained by the threat of exposure because….why? Why should I care if what I do and say is being seen and heard if I feel no guilt or shame about it? I’m just livin’ my own truth, man…who are you to tell me I’m wrong about that class of people or what women want or what value any life has, born or unborn? Why shouldn’t I lie if it helps me or hate people who don’t think like me?
A lawless people are lawless people. What did we expect?
Our country is broadly divided into two groups…those who recognize and submit to a moral lawgiver and, in increasing numbers, those who don’t. In a world without God, which is pretty much the world many if not most people in this country effectively live in, even if they believe he exists, nothing is really objectively right or wrong. If God is dismissed or ignored then our expectations of right living depend on each individual’s subjective motivations. Do I have good reason to do what others expect or want of me? Do I even care about what others think? If I can satisfy my selfish desires without any personal suffering, why shouldn’t I?
But living in the real world, where God exists and sees and knows everything we do, say, and even think, means I have an objective moral law constraining bad behavior that the lawless ones do not. I have one I am accountable to and nothing is hidden from him even if it’s hidden from everyone else. So I do my best not to hate, lie, or unjustly condemn others because I want to please my Father and I know that, just like any good father, he will discipline me if I misbehave.
If a society throws their own lawman out of town, they shouldn’t be surprised when folks get unruly. And if that lawman is also the judge, they can’t complain about the unruly ones because they’ve thrown the rules out too.