A few months ago the Girl Guides changed the oath that girls are expected to make upon joining. Rather than promising to serve God and country instead the girl guides now promise to be “true to myself and develop my beliefs”. It probably wasn't the intent of the girl guide organisation but they have unwittingly provided a devastating critique of Western secular society.
We live in the age of Me, an age where morality is determined, not by any objective standard, but by the fickle reason of our egos. All that matter is being true to "myself". We see this in the issue of transgender individuals insisting that biological gender is second place to the decision of Me to be the gender Me wants. We see this in the issue of abortion where Me chooses to rid Myself of an unnecessary inconvenience rather than valuing the life of Another. We see this in society's attitude to sex where the only moral consideration is the consent of two Mes. We see this in the consumer society where Me has to appear better, richer, cooler than anyone else. And we see this in the greed and selfishness which typifies so much of human existence – Me gets what Me wants over the opinions and actions of any other.
When did narcissism become such a sure decider of right and wrong? Yet listening to the moral debates that are had by our society reveals that the only factor under consideration seem to be doing what Me wants as long as it doesn't harm another. But we are deluding ourselves if we think that such a compromise is possible. The wants of Me will inevitably conflict with the wants of another Me. The desires of Me will eventually only be fulfilled at the expense of another.
“Be true to yourself” Society tells us. But what is this self that we should be true to? I know what Me wants and frankly if I lived true to myself then I cannot think of a person I would least like to meet. My inner Me is a selfish, proud, grasping individual with a cold heart to the needs of others.
The foolishness of our society lies in a denial of the basic human condition. It is a denial forced upon it by its refusal to worship God, a refusal that collapses a man's view of the world so that he can think no higher than himself, it is a denial of the evil of every human heart. The Bible tells us that our hearts are “desperately wicked” and that we all live in rebellion against our Creator God. The Me that society is so keen to tell us to true to is a sinful Me and a more miserable creature cannot possibly be found.
Consider what a petty, tiny world you would have to live in if your only consideration of your actions was the approval of your Me. Is there really nothing greater to judge your actions by? Consider what arrogance it entails, to insist that Me is a nigh on infallible guide to right and wrong. Consider what a denial of reality this is when a quick flick through a newspaper reveals the consequences of a society of Mes all making Me decisions with only the interests of Me at heart.
Pride, anger, hate, idolatry, lies, covertness, lust, drunkenness, back stabbing, gossip, greed – all symptoms of the Morality of Me and all found so readily in the human heart. Sins that promise so much to us but never deliver the happiness or comfort they suggest. The morality of Me is simple: Me loves Me and hates God for Me will brook no competition.
Against this morality of Me we have the morality of God - a morality of love and selflessness. What are the two greatest commands? To love God with all our heart, mind and strength and to love our fellow man as we love ourselves. And what is the fruit of God's Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. Instead of narcissism we have selflessness; instead of Me we have God. A feast of all that is beautiful and right.
For the holiness of God is a beautiful holiness, a perfection of every good thing for all good things originate with God. Thus the morality of God is a beautiful morality, an expression of his beautiful holiness. And thus, as well, the sin of humanity is an ugly, terrible offence against God.
Nowhere do we see this contrast clearer but in the cross of Christ. On the one hand we have the ugliness of human sin, the seething morality of Me that caused the people there to put to death the Son of God. Innocent of any sin, sent from his Father God yet killed by crucifixion. Such is the end consequence of following the morality of Me – complete and utter rejection of anything greater than Me, rebellion against God and hatred of his holiness.
But we see also the beauty of God's holiness. We see it in the love of God which meant that he sent his Son to die for our sins so that “while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” We see it in his unfolding of his great plan of redemption that had the greatest evil of humanity, killing Christ, as the centre of his salvation for humanity. We see the beauty of his holiness in his just punishment of all our sin, a punishment that fell on Christ so that those who believe in him might have eternal life. We see it in the invitation open to everyone that those who seek forgiveness in faith and trust in Jesus Christ will find it. And we see it in the two eternal destinies that await all of humanity; heaven for God's people and Hell for those who refuse to repent of their sin.
If you follow the path of the Morality of Me then you will end up in Hell. But if you turn from such a path and seek the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ then you will put on a new road and have a new morality written over your heart, the morality of God. Many people think that Christianity is constricting but such a thought is the opposite to the truth. Faith in Christ frees a man from the tyranny of Me and the slavery of sin. Faith in Christ frees a man to set his morality by the perfect holy standards of his Creator. Faith in Christ leads, albeit always slowly, to increasing love, joy and peace.
As Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11 v 28 - 30
Jesus offers freedom from the burden of guilt and sin, the burden of living solely for Me, the burden of living in rebellion against God. Countless Christians will testify that his yoke is indeed easy and burden light for in Jesus Christ we find the source of a multitude of blessings: peace with God, adoption into his family, forgiveness for sin and an eternal life in heaven. Come to Jesus, for he is meek and humble in heart and find in him salvation from the terrible morality of Me.