Angelina Jolie made this quite famous quote:-
Guilt, justice and the pronouncing of sentences; all part of modern day life; - what some see as wrong others see as right. We can travel the world and get five million different versions of what is 'right and wrong'.
Like Angelina we can live on impulses and forego all the 'guilt' feelings. We can extinguish our consciences and harden or hearts to the hurts we have given others and live as we please.
In some parts of the world for example women have no rights at all, If a woman is sexually assaulted, that assault has to be witnessed by four adult males and the offender has to 'confess' before any sort of 'conviction' will take place.
The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Portugal, Mexico and Canada all permit same sex marriage while other countries totally forbid even the suggestion of same.
And while the Netherlands, with it's famous coffee shops, is best known for the decriminalization of marijuana, you can find yourself on death row for possessing the same thing in Bali.
Every country is different in their laws and their justice systems. What is totally OK and fair in some is totally so wrong in others. You may walk down the street in tee shirts and shorts in some countries BUT find yourself behind bars for doing the same thing in another.
Surf the internet to see 'laws upheld in different countries' and before long your brain will be swimming in confusion and questions - all different and all correct in view of cultures and living conditions.
Which ones are right and which ones are wrong?? There are 'expert witnesses' and there are all manner of 'expert opinions' - all divided and all with their own slant on things.
We can be so sincere in our thinking and I truly believe that every other system in the world is truly sincere in theirs - the thing is we can all be 'sincerely' wrong.
Unlike us, our neighbours or our local justice system, God and only God has the unique ability to judge people perfectly.
He, in His ultimate wisdom, doesn't have to rely on eyewitness testimony; He sees everything.
He isn't swayed by 'expert' opinions when it comes to motives; He knows every thought running through a person's brain.
And because He knows our motives; our thoughts and our actions it is very important to keep that in mind because ultimately God's 'verdict' is the only thing that matters.
Living your life to please yourself or to please others is a really bad idea. The consequences can be devastating. It will lead to an alienation from God, which is probably the main reason not to live for self, but it can also lead to a self-righteousness or I-can-do-nothing-wrong attitude that will eventually alienate you from friends and even family.
An on-again, off-again effort won't do when it comes to honouring God - we need desperately to 'get over' ourselves, see others as God sees them; love them as God loves them.
God wants you to give Him your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole mind - lukewarm won't do!
We show our love for God by loving others and glorifying God in what we do and say - it's a pretty poor show trying to keep the commandments because all of us fail miserably in that one!
The Bible tells us that God looks into our hearts, seeing our purity of motives. Not judging; but loving. That can be hard because quite frankly some people are downright nasty - God is the only one through His Holy Spirit who is able to assist us in loving the un-lovely.
Not judging also includes yourself. If you have asked for forgiveness and truly repented of your sin to God, then your past is gone; continually re-asking God for forgiveness of your past sins and beating yourself up about them time and time again makes you the Judge and not God.
Our goal should be to please the One who can pass sentence on us. Not us passing sentence on ourselves or others.
If we are judged faithful and true to Him - we are set forever. Eternally forever.
I love this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:-