Go into a coffee shop, and you’ll find that you can customize every nuanced ounce of what is in your cup:
Tall, non-fat latte with caramel drizzle.
Triple, venti, half-sweet, caramel macchiato.
Non-fat frappuccino with extra whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
There is a special java-variation for each customer as individualized drinks are blended to suit each buyer’s needs and wants. It doesn’t end with coffee; one can easily customize most anything today. Thousands of services and products await your personal touch and individualized statement. You can have things your way. We mix and match options, colors and various customizations for our vehicles, a far cry from Henry Ford’s comment about the Model T: “People can have it in any color they want, so long as it’s black.” Variation is not a bad thing at all, but if you look carefully, you’ll find that this personalization can creep into other areas of life as well, most specifically, in the realm of morality.
You might hear something like this…
“You have ‘your truth,’ and I have ‘my truth.’ What works for you doesn’t work for me, but that’s okay as long as you don’t try to impose your beliefs upon me or attempt to sway me in my beliefs. It really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something. And if you believe something, it becomes truth for you. After all, truth isn’t fixed, but it changes with the culture, with time, and as information increases. People can pick and choose what they believe from any and all ideological, moral or religious belief systems, and no one has the right to tell anyone differently as long as it does not contradict what the culture of the time has accepted as truth.”
In this type of arrangement, universal standards need not apply. When I was a teacher, I used an answer key to grade tests. It would be placed alongside the student’s paper and compared. It didn’t really matter what someone preferred or wanted the answer to be; the only thing that mattered was if the given answer matched the standard.
Unfortunately, often our moral choices are demoted to the same status of merely stating opinion. Issues of right and wrong are placed on the same level as deciding whether you want whipped cream or steamed milk in your coffee. Too often we choose morality based upon personal preference rather than upon a universal standard.
In thinking about this, two verses come to mind…
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
The God of all the universe has an objective standard. He didn’t say, “I am one of the possible ways, a truth among many others that are just as valid.”
Not only does God have a standard, he is the standard. In matters of truth, our preferences need not apply.
We would receive God’s words as truth and not add to his teachings. – Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
We would guard ourselves from being led astray by false teachings. – Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
We would find true freedom in the truth of God. – John 8:32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”