Morality is More Than Not Hurting Others

I was about 11 years old when I started looking at porn. This was before the internet was around, so it was a bit harder for a kid to get, but a friend of mine found some magazines in his house and showed them to me. I rationalized it at the time and for many years until God helped me overcome this sin, because I told myself that it wasn’t hurting anyone.

Every argument that seeks to justify sin is faulty, because sin is completely illogical. But people often use faulty arguments thinking that they are good arguments because they’re blind to their sin.

Case in point: the argument that things like gambling, getting drunk, viewing pornography, and sex outside of marriage aren’t wrong because they don’t hurt anyone. This same argument is used to support a variety of other activities, especially one big issue that’s in the news just about every day now.

Let’s ignore for a moment that the argument itself is completely untrue. These practices actually do hurt a lot of people. They hurt families, society, children, and even the people themselves who practice them.

But let’s put all that aside for a moment. The argument itself is flawed because the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise. Who declared that we should judge actions as moral or immoral based solely on whether or not those actions hurt people? That’s certainly not in the Bible. And it’s also not logical.

God commanded the Israelites to kill a lot of people, and they did.

God commanded Noah to build an ark. This neither helped nor hurt anyone (although what would follow was going to hurt a lot of people).

God also commands us to do many things that neither help nor hurt others. We’re commanded to read His Word, pray, and regularly gather together with our church. Not doing these things would not actively hurt others, yet it is wrong to ignore them.

And actually, I do believe that our most seemingly insignificant actions do help or hurt others. If I neglect to read my Bible, I’m not challenged to serve others to the extent that I should serve them. If I neglect to pray for my family, I’m not loving them the way that I ought. If I neglect to gather with my church, I’m not encouraging fellow believers, who oftentimes desperately need the encouragement and fellowship with others.

But morality is about more than that. Things are moral if they glorify God. If they point to the truth that He is Lord. If they reflect His nature. And things are immoral if they fail to glorify God. If they ignore the truth that He is Lord. If they are contrary to His nature.

That’s the Bible’s standard of morality. It’s never arbitrary. It’s always about honoring God by acknowledging that He is God and He is good.

If you want to make an argument from the Bible or from society in general about the morality of an action, fine. But let’s cast out the idea that something is moral simply because it doesn’t hurt anyone, which is probably untrue anyway.

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