Do We Want To Be On The Right Side of History?

You’ve probably heard the phrase quite often over the last couple of years. It has become quite popular to not want to be on “the wrong side of history” nowadays. It has seemed to develop as a new worldview. Many are concerned about how their lives and actions will be judged by future generations. No one wants to be like the person who supported slavery during the 1860s. Instead people want to feel the satisfaction of knowing they will be on the side of what is good and noble when the future looks back upon their lives. And who can blame them? Who doesn’t want to be right and not wrong? But should this be how we measure our actions? Is this the standard to which we should use as our measuring stick? Let us break apart this statement and take a deeper look at its meaning.

I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history means...

Morality evolves. When you think about what this statement means, it is assuming that the current thought process is wrong. That what we used to think about something in society is now changing for the better. Before homosexuality was wrong, now it is right. Truth is relative and therefore evolving for the better as society progresses forward. Before, identifying genders by a person’s biology was correct but now it is subject to a person’s decision. I think a quote by Obama about his views on homosexuality encapsulates my point when he said, “My feelings about this are constantly evolving.” But is this what the Bible teaches us about morality? Is it relative and subject to change? Not at all. Morality and truth come from God Himself (John 14:6) and God does not change (Malachi 3:6). Even though christians and the church may have changed over the years, that still doesn’t mean God has. Instead of changing the standards of right and wrong, we should be looking to God and become transformed. We should be the ones who change, not morality.

We are getting better or more improved with each passing generation. If we want to be on the right side of history it is because as time passes, things are not just evolving and changing but they are progressing and improving. We are moving forward to be more inclusive. We are pressing on to be more tolerant. Our changes are for the better. But can we truly claim this? Are things really better? The last century has been the bloodiest of any other century in history. On top of that state-based conflict has increased by 60% .Armed conflict within countries has increased by 125% . 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry every day. The suicide rate has steadily increased over the last 10 years. Depression is up 33% within just 3 years. This view of things getting better with time is just plain old pride. We look down on our older generations and just assume they are wrong because they are old. CS Lewis referred to this as “chronological snobbery”. He said, “the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited.” But a more sobering look at reality would make us realize that things are not better just because they are in the present. The Bible teaches us that nothing is new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And all of our “progress” has not changed the human heart.

The future is our judge. Who determines you are the right side of history? Well, future generations. Whatever is the popular moral atmosphere in the future, that will be the standard that people in that time will judge our current actions by. This worldview is concerned about what future generations think. It’s about living and leaving legacy. It’s about doing your part to make the world a better place before you leave it. It’s pleasing people that aren’t even alive yet! But who is the ultimate judge of our lives? Is it the future generations of America? Of the world? No, it is God who will judge us. “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) We should be more concerned about what God has to say about our actions then people who aren’t even conceived yet.

In closing, this worldview of living on the right side of history is very evolutionary and humanistic. We should have God’s word as our guide and be concerned about being on the right side of His law. We should be concerned about the future judgement of Him instead of our peers. Instead of being on the right side of history we should be on the right side of His truth. That should be our only concern. When David committed adultery and murder, was he told by Nathan that he should be concerned about being on the wrong side of history, affecting his Jewish legacy? Absolutely not. Instead he said, “Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12:9)

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