Plenty of folks today have a GPS. This has made the job of getting from one place to another much easier. Of course they are not always foolproof, but generally they are a great help in keeping us on course and getting us to our desired destinations.
Without a GPS, or other navigational tools, or good reliable maps, we will forever be getting lost. So such devices are a real must in modern society. But another navigation tool is also a must – yet it is one which most people are without. I refer to a moral map, or a spiritual GPS.
Without reliable and trustworthy moral road maps we are likely to end up all over the place. Without a moral compass to help us find the ethical and spiritual due north, we will end up lost, confused and far away from home. One description of a compass reads as follows: “A compass is a navigational instrument that shows directions in a frame of reference that is stationary relative to the surface of the earth.”
Now that is exactly what we need morally and spiritually speaking: a frame of reference that is stationary relative to ourselves, that can give us reliable directions. We are in desperate need of such fixed and accurate guidance. And this guidance is not something we can come up with ourselves.
It must come from without, and of course the Christian faith posits such a compass. The perfect, unchanging and righteous God of the universe is our moral and spiritual compass, and he has given us clear directions in his revealed word.
In it we find an objective, transcendent frame of reference by which we can plot our journey through life. Yet most people today prefer to rely on their own internal guidance system, no matter how dodgy and unreliable. They have rejected a spiritual GPS for their own failed, finite and fallen internal navigation systems.
In my recent Scripture reading I came upon a sad yet accurate commentary on all this. In Amos 8:11 we find these disconcerting words: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD’.”
When a people continue to reject God, his law, and his revelation, then God will often abandon them to their worst fate: themselves. People without God and his revelation end up stumbling around in the dark, moving from one disaster to another.
We see this tragically being played out in so much of the West today. We have abandoned God, our only sure compass, and are now left wandering, groping, lost, fumbling about with no clear direction and no sure map. We are in a spiritual and moral free fall in other words.
Thus evil, depravity and death cults flourish, and we aren’t even aware of how far out of tune we are morally speaking. Life becomes cheap and the weakest are most at risk. Examples of this are legion. One caught my eye recently and certainly indicates how much we desperately need a moral compass.
The story goes this way: A “video has emerged showing George Mason University students signing a petition to legalize abortion after birth. According to the petition, which was signed on Wednesday demanded that lawmakers legalize ‘fourth trimester’ abortions. In other words, they want to fully legalize the murder of a child that has been born.”
“The petition, which was circulated on GMU’s flagship campus in Fairfax, VA., just outside Washington D.C., by Media Research Center reporter Dan Joseph said it was aimed at sending ‘a message to our lawmakers that women have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and babies’ even ‘after their pregnancies.’
“‘If you don’t know what fourth trimester is, it’s after the baby is already born,’ Joseph said. ‘Currently fourth trimester abortions are illegal in all 50 states,’ he told students. Most responses should horrify anyone with a conscience as they declared anything from ‘okay’ to ‘cool.’
“One concerned student asked if the procedure would ‘cause harm to the child.’ ‘Well the child wouldn’t be there anymore,’ responded Joseph. ‘It’s abortion.’ The student then happily signed the petition.”
Now that is a perfect example of a famine of God’s revelation, resulting in an utter lack of a moral compass. As I say, the weak are especially at risk in such a morally numb universe. Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic for 45 years now knows all about this. She writes:
“The weak have never fared well in cultures that view life as dispensable. Roughly seventy years ago in Nazi Germany the first ones to be carted away in the dark from institutions down long hallways in the middle of the night were the weakest of the disabled. Not just any disabled people.
“No, Nazi medical teams singled out disabled people who had no visitors, no family, no advocates, no friends. No one to dare contend for their lives. No Christians were there to say, ‘Stop! She bears the image of God, and we will be her spiritual community. We will keep her connected to reality. We will not let her suffer alone.”
She continues, “With no moral compass, society does not know what to do with affliction, pain, and suffering. No biblical gyroscope exists to give balance to someone [with great suffering], who is struggling with what it means to be human and to live with severe suffering. Disability in a society that has lost its moral center is viewed as an intrusion to one’s comfort and convenience.
“Now society has downright contempt for suffering. People do everything to eradicate it, to exorcise it surgically, institutionalize it, give it ibuprofen, divorce it – everything but live with it. And it is only a short philosophical hop, skip, and jump to the point where society also has contempt for people who suffer.”
No wonder we see such fervent and frequent pushes for abortion, euthanasia and even infanticide. It comes naturally in a culture which has closed its ears from hearing God, and is therefore reduced to a culture with no moral centre. Such a society is very ugly indeed, with the weak, vulnerable and suffering the first to go.
Millions of GPSs are being sold all around the globe. We cannot buy a spiritual and moral GPS, but we do know where to get one if we want it. Tragically most people do not want it however. As a result, our culture will become more and more lost, disorientated, deadened. Such a future does not bode well.