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Within our community, we try to use the Golden Rule -- measuring our actions by the same principles that we use for measuring the actions of our enemies, and vice versa. So if, for example, we want freedom to distribute our literature, then we believe that they should have the same freedom. If it is wrong for them to cause division in our ranks, then we must not deliberately set out to cause division in their ranks. And so on and so on.

But occasionally we find ourselves in a situation where it just doesn't seem right to apply the same principle to both sides. A situation along these lines came up in Kerala, South India, years ago, in which I found myself saying, "But the difference is that we are right and they are wrong."

Our natural response was to actually laugh at such an argument. We had become so indoctrinated by the values of a society which does not know the difference between right and wrong, that we thought such a claim was laughable.

After all, claiming that we are right and they are wrong is the reasoning behind every war. It's the claim that has been made by every new division in the Christian church. It's the justification for racism and bigotry. But there is one difference between those illustrations and our own use of the phrase: We really are right and they really are wrong!

See, they use "right" and "wrong" hypocritically, without any genuine attempt to arrive at the truth. There is no humble examination of themselves for sin and error. They show no concern for the welfare of others, and especially not for their enemies. So, obviously, the fruit of their argument is always going to be bad. But it should not scare off someone who is sincerely seeking the truth, and following the other criteria listed above, from showing some kind of confidence about what we have discovered as a result.

As long as we always stay open to new knowledge, and open to a higher revelation of truth, we do not need to throw out the confidence we now have in what we have found. And what we have found is the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe. We have found the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

When we first started as a community, we discussed what to call ourselves. "Why not just call ourselves Christians?" someone asked.

"Because that's what all the churchies call themselves, and we don't want to be confused with them," someone else responded.

"But Christian is what we are," came back the answer. "We really are following Jesus, and the churchies aren't. So why should we be the ones to retreat and go looking for a new name, when we are the ones that the name rightly belongs to in the first place?"

See, the only difference between us and the churchies is that the name is "right" for us, and "wrong" for them. We're both fighting over the same name... but we are entitled to it and they aren't. Is that a double standard? Or is it just a simple fact that anyone could test by studying the evidence?

We have been known to break the law by painting Christian graffiti along railway lines, by distributing Christian literature where it is forbidden, by converting Hindu university students to faith in Jesus. But that does not obligate us to defend all law-breakers, or even all graffitists. Why? Because we're right and most of the others are wrong.

We have called the police to report our car stolen. Church leaders have also called the police... to have us removed from their church meetings for giving roses to members of the congregation. What's the difference? The difference is that we were morally right in our action, while they were morally wrong.

Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Until we examine the motives behind actions (and God has given us a lot of information on how to do that), it cannot be said that people are equally right or wrong just because they are engaging in similar activities.

There is far too much violence in the world today; and yet Jesus will destroy millions at the Battle of Armageddon, and then proceed to rule the world with a "rod of iron". How is that different from what governments are now doing? Only one difference... Jesus is right, and they are wrong. Jesus will be genuinely seeking the good of all, while the others only hypocritically claim to be doing that, at the same time that they secretly lust after wealth and power for themselves.

The list could go on and on, and in a way it could cover anything. Anything done in a sincere desire to serve and obey God becomes good and right, no matter how wrong or foolish it may appear to be to human eyes; and anything not done in obedience to God becomes evil, no matter how impressive it may be to human understanding.

This is a frightening teaching, for it can be used to justify anything, even murder. And it has been used to justify anything, including murder. Using it to justify something, however, is wrong; but using it to give confidence to those who are honestly and humbly seeking to know and follow the will of God is not.

Can you see the difference? We who are sincerely seeking to know and follow the will of God are right... and they are wrong!

(See also Thou Shalt Judge, and Reject Us, Reject God.)

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