When Everyone Does What
is Right in Their Own Eyes
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Judges is the seventh book of the Bible. From creation through the various scenes of humanity we see the variety of challenges, choices, and consequences which people are facing. Four different verses are characteristic of this book. In Judges 17:6, Judges 18:1, Judges 19:1 and 21:25 we find the phrase, In those days there was not a king in Israel, but everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”
The refrain of the book is, “Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes” (KJV), or as the NIV (New International Version) puts it, “Everyone did as he saw fit" (17:6; 21:25). Without guidelines, laws, principles, rules, and regulations that are appropriately applied to all equally, anything goes. People begin to behave wildly and became unruly. People behave disruptively, acting in ways that cause trouble - dismantling and destroying what is considered a norm or standard. In Judges, the Israelites were acting in a disorderly manner, simply out of control. Acting destructively to upset the applecart, to ruin and interfere with plans and goals, deliberately trying to disrupt or ruin something. They were suffering the consequences of their choice to do what was right in their own eyes. Wow! Doesn’t that sound like what we are experiencing today?
The reasoning goes something like this: without ethics, rules, standards, and values for people to follow, they do as they please, driven by all sort of emotions and thoughts. Without principles to govern actions, morality to inform ideals, and values to regulate conduct, you are left with anarchy - a state of disorder.
Disinformation, conspiracy theories, and untruths are being put forth replacing facts, objective rational thinking, and time proven truths. People are being led to believe that there is such a thing as alternative facts without having proof to substantiate what’s being claimed as factual. People are just doing what is right in their own eyes. That means everyone suffers. After all, whatever happens, we are in it together as a community and a people, a nation and world. We are all fellows in the same ship. 
Consider what it means when everyone does what is right in their own eyes.  
Monday, September 20, 2021
The poet Edwin Markham puts it this way:
There is a destiny which makes us brothers; none goes his way alone. All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own. I care not what his temples or his creeds, one thing holds firm and fast. That into his fateful heap of days and deeds, The soul of man is cast.
“Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!" a famous catch phrase of Laurel and Hardy. Unfortunately, this humorous comment can also describe the serious consequences about the reality we face when everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Acting on these ideas can break a society and shatter not only norms, but the fabric of democratic society with its basis in justice and liberty for all. Whatever one segment or part of humanity does, will affect all humanity in total.
Ethics, ideals, standards, and values are all important because they guide and shape our attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. We all subject ourselves to some authority whether it is via nature, nurturing, environment or emotions, or in this day and time - influencers on the world wide web. To whose authority do you subject yourself? Who influences you? From whom do you get your direction? Who or what governs your attitude, behavior, and thoughts?  

The Book of Judges describes one of the longest, dismal periods in Old Testament history. After Joshua, Judges reminds us that “there arose another generation which knew not the Lord nor the works which the Lord had done for Israel” (2:10) and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” 
It covers a 450-year time frame extending from Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land until the time of Samuel. That is longer than the four hundred years since 1619 when slaves were first brought to these shores. They were demeaned, denigrated, and demonized as less than human. The entire time is filled with horrific acts of evil, bloody conflicts, and tales of human misery. It was a time of moral chaos, confusion, and bitter contention without a seeming resolution.

Consider what it means that information, influencers and insights, all present varying points of views that attract followers.  
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Firstly, decline comes when you forget what has been done before 

During that time, at intervals, when the people of Israel would grow desperate and cry for help, God would raise up some unlikely leader to conquer whatever enemy was oppressing them. These deliverers, were known as “judges”; there were 17 of them. Some were better known than others. Deborah (that says something about females providing leadership when a nation is in disarray) (served 40 years); Gideon (40 yrs.) military leader, judge and prophet; Eli (40 yrs.) the high priest of Shiloh; Samson (20 yrs.) protected the Israelites from the Philistines; and Samuel (47yrs.) prophet, judge, and wise leader. 

When peace was restored, the nation would fall right back into another long stretch of moral decline. It happened every time. The cycle is repeated over and over again. Who would have thought we would be where we are in the 21st century as a nation? After all we have experienced: civil war, reconstruction, deconstruction, Jim Crow, women’s suffrage, civil rights, 9/11 terrorists strikes, numerous wars, poverty, and you name it. You would think at some point we would learn to do what we need to do to maintain our peace and sanity. We keep going back and forth over the same old stuff. 

Thank God for the ancestors, poets, and champions of our past who have navigated us through our yesterdays to our todays with a faith that will not shrink. Icons like Fredrick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Langston Hughes. And those serving today in the various leadership roles within the historic NAACP: Derrick Johnson, president and CEO; Sherrilyn Ifill, a law professor and president of the NAACP Legal Defense; Rev. Dr. William J. Barber. The Urban League's president and CEO, Marc H. Morial; Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, and many more who offer steady and dedicated leadership as champions for justice and truth for all.   

Well, son, I'll tell you: / Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. /
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters, / And boards torn up, /
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare. / But all the time / I'se been a-climbin' on, /
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners, / And sometimes goin' in the dark /
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back. / Don't you set down on the steps. /
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard. / Don't you fall now— / For I'se still goin', honey, / I'se still climbin', / And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.  ~Langston Hughes poem, Mother to Son

Consider what it means that life is cyclical with its negatives and positives.  
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Rules, restrictions, and regulations are all necessary to be in relationships. When people do what seems right in their own eyes, anything goes and people run amok, creating and promoting conditions of extremism like the insurrection of January 6. Some people are saying that these insurrectionists were participating in a normal tour of the capital and therefore refuse to conduct an independent assessment to investigate the murderously frenzied occurrence. 
Rules, regulations, and restrictions are all necessary to be in relationship personally or publicly or politically. We need ethics, norms, and standards in order to maintain civility. 

The idea that everyone should get to define for himself what is right and true is a recipe for disorder and disaster, putting people on a collision course with calamity, chaos, conflict, and confusion.” 

That statement would be a fitting estimation of the ethical, moral, political, and physical state of our nation today.  Unfortunately, many people no longer believe there is any fixed, moral standard they need to observe.  People regularly prompt one another with phrases like, “Find your own truth” as if there were no standards already established. Remember, life is too short for you to make all the mistakes yourself. You can benefit from others' mistakes rather than making all of them yourself.  

How should a civil society respond when the values that define who we are collectively as a nation appear to erode and evaporate? What happens to democratic and humane ideas such as equality and inclusion; freedom of speech; providing sanctuary to those in need; due process; protecting the most vulnerable among us? Remember what you did before and do it again. 
Consider what it means to remember both the trials and triumphs as a source of inspiration to manage getting through life’s challenging circumstances. 
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Secondly, accept certain truths as self-evident

When Moses gave the law to the people of Israel, one of the chief principles he underscored for them was, You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes(Deuteronomy 12:8). When everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes that is a recipe for disorder and disaster with disinformation. It is the very definition of moral anarchy - anything goes. 

When you regard truth as a matter of personal perspective then you can believe what you will or want. There are those who believe that nothing can be known with settled certainty. Remember Pontius Pilate cynically asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Today’s society collectively answers that question in the most skeptical yet arrogant way possible—namely, with the disastrous false notion that the only truth that ultimately matters is whatever seems right in your own eyes.

Western society was built on beliefs that are rooted in Scripture, starting with the truth that God exists and has made Himself known. The whole weight of the United States’ Declaration of Independence hangs on truths about God and creation that our nation’s Founding Fathers regarded as “self-evident,” and they were right about that. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” ~ Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

It is evident that we are all part of the fabric of the human race and unless we all respect each other, we will alienate one another or as Dr. King said:

"We must learn to live together as brothers, and I would add sisters and human beings -- or perish as fools

The common phrases “my truth” and “your truth” suggest that everything is ultimately just a matter of perspective. All truth claims are really nothing more than just personal opinions and they deserve to be treated that way. Every point of view, no matter how bizarre, demands equal respect. Because, after all, no one can say for sure what is ultimately true. 

Facts and truths are real and can be documented. Don’t be led into believing and embracing what is untrue; to do so is making idols of manufactured falsehoods - believing what is not so. Don’t be fooled by what is fabricated to delude you into deceiving yourself and believing in lies.  
Life is about more than perception. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow tells us, Life is real! Life is earnest! There are self-evident realities that are chronicled in the annals of history of what happens when what is done seems right in your own eyes. Discrimination, wars, and subjugation of humanity, and all sorts of unconscionable, shockingly unfair, and unjust behavior. 
Consider what it means that there are self-evident truths.  
Friday, September 24, 2021
Thirdly, choose your influencers carefully

Remember what has been done and accept self-evidence of your humanity, privilege, and opportunities. Don’t forget to carefully choose who guides and influences you. The chief influencer for the Israelites was their creator, Yahweh. They experienced what the Lord had done for them. They ran the risk of defecting to other gods instead of the One who had made Himself known to them. They would fall away and call on the One they had trusted before and the Lord would hear and answer with a deliverer to help them. They continued to repeat the same cycle for hundreds of years. We find ourselves with the same cyclical set of circumstances. We discover, as Winston Churchill said, success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 

We who are called believers in Christ going by the name Christian, have a friend, a redeemer, and a savior who inspires us to continue courageously facing the circumstances that continue to surface and resurface in life. We have remembered what has been done for us, with us, through us, and by us as we have embraced the faith in this friend who has never failed us. Our faith is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. We dare not trust the sweetest frame but lean on Jesus’ name.  

Consider what it means that to have an influencer with an impeccable record of deliverances like Jesus with the broad reach and scope of inclusiveness. 
Saturday, September 25, 2021
There is a truth that is expressed in the life and teachings of Jesus. Repentance that acknowledges negligence is necessary in order to be redeemed, restored, and revived. Our imagination is ignited as we reflect on what the Lord has done; how He brought us through the varied changing scenes of our historical sojourn. We know that we have come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord. 
We have come this far by faith, / Leaning on the Lord, / Trusting in His Holy Word, / He’s never failed us –yet. / Singin’ oh, oh, oh, can’t turn a-round,
We’ve come this far by faith.

Just the other day, I heard a man say / He didn’t believe in God’s -Word,
But I can truly say that I have found the way, / And He’s never failed me yet.
Oh, oh, oh!

Don’t be discouraged / When troubles come your -way.
He’ll bear all your burdens, / And turned all your night into say. Oh, oh, oh!

We’ve come this far by faith, / Leaning on the Lord,
Trusting in His holy Word, / He’s never failed us –yet.
Singin’ oh, oh, oh, can’t turn a-round,
We’ve come this far by faith. / Singin’ oh, oh, oh, can’t turn a-round,
We’ve come this far by faith. / We’ve come this far by —faith. ~Albert Goodson
Consider what it means to
insightfully, imaginatively, and inspirationally with Jesus as your guide.  

We've Come This Far by Faith
~Donnie McClurkin

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