Tim Johnson: Who says we cannot make our own rules?

Tim Johnson • Updated Jun 1, 2018 at 9:00 AM

There is a scene in the 2002 movie “Time Changer” I will never forget. The main character buys a hot dog from a vendor. He sits on a nearby bench and momentarily sets his hot dog next to him. A young girl grabs his prized lunch and runs off with it. He pursues her through the park and eventually catches her. Upon capture he says something to the effect of, “Little girl, don’t you know it is wrong to take something that does not belong to you?” To which she replies, “Who says?”

Look deeper into her two-word question. “Who says?” is how a child would speak, but the deeper question she is asking is, “Who has the authority to tell me what I can and cannot do?” In other words, “Who makes up the rules?”

That is an excellent question. Who says what the rules are? 

A look at how we train our children may show us what people think is the answer to the “who says” question.

Most parents encourage their children to do well in school. Many parents desire that their children will continue in the educational system after high school by going to college or trade school. This encouragement shows our children that the education system has our stamp of approval and is something we trust. Therefore, our children believe they can trust the teaching learned in school as the truth.  

The education system removed the Bible and prayer. The teaching of evolution discredits the beginning chapters of the Scriptures. Now that the Scripture cannot be trusted – implied by our actions of believing the school system and the rejection of the Bible by academia – the moral code contained within the Scripture is brought into question. In the church, the judgmental, hypocritical attitude of some Christians, the widespread lack of faithfulness, sin, ignorance of the Scriptures and the replacing of Biblical morals with liberal views within the church has brought a lack of respect for organized religion and her ministers. In society, the rejection of Biblical morals alongside a “get what you can; when you can” lifestyles has created a “the world revolves around me” attitude that turns people from looking to God for the truth to looking within themselves.

All of this, and I am sure there is more, has given us the answer to the “who says?” question. The answer we now have for the “who says?” question is, “I am the ultimate authority. I determine what is right and wrong for me. My parents, teachers, boss, law enforcement, the government, society, the church, no one, nowhere, not even God, if He exists, can tell me what is right or wrong.” 

The ultimate authority is God, but in the last four generations or so, at best we have brought His teachings and His very existence into question, and at worst vilified Him and His Word. By undermining the ultimate authority, we threaten all authority. Jesus said in Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”  

If I am my ultimate authority and I determine what is right and wrong for me, then how, in my eyes, can I be guilty of anything? Therefore, someone or something else is at fault. I cannot accept any responsibility for wrongdoing because it is never my fault. Examples of this – A child on the playground, “He wouldn’t let me have his toy, so I took it.” A man to his boss, “I am late for work because my wife didn’t put gas in the car yesterday.” A husband to his wife, “If you hadn’t of gained 50 pounds, what Sue and I did would have never happened.” A bank robber to the police, “If my employer would have had better insurance for us, I would not have needed the money to pay for my child’s surgery.” Get the picture? If I determine what is right and wrong, nothing I do can be wrong.

Society has started applying this with the worst of actions. With each mass shooting, for example, it seems blame is put everywhere except for the shooter. His friends and family did not report his strange behavior, the politicians refuse to pass effective gun legislation, his peers bullied him, no one made sure he was taking his medicines correctly, violent video games are to blame. Do I need to name more?

Before the taking of the Bible and prayer out of schools mass shootings were unheard of, now we wonder how soon the next one will happen. Change is almost always gradual; we started removing God from our society, our homes and even to some extent our churches, and the gradual change has brought us to where we are now. 

Voids will not go unfilled. If the two forces of the universe are good and evil, when we remove the ultimate good, God, the other force – evil will replace him. The greater the void we create by removing God from society, the greater the evil will be that will replace Him. 

Who says I cannot steal another man’s hot dog?  

Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at [email protected] Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points may be found at preacherspoint.wordpress.com.


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